When much of sports came to a standstill this week, many said the moment was unprecedented. But for WNBA players, activism has been a part of their DNA for a long time.
They’ve been especially outspoken lately, dedicating the season — which started in July — to Breonna Taylor and the Say Her Name campaign . New this season, they introduced a Social Justice Council of players and activists to push conversations around social issues forward. And this week, one team wore shirts with seven bullet holes in the back , a testament to the fate that befell Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.
From LGBTQ rights to racial justice, WNBA players have been vocal for years, since the league’s inaugural season in 1997.
“The women have been talking about these issues for a while,” said Ashland Johnson, founder of the Inclusion Playbook , a sports justice project that aims to increase diversity, inclusion and social responsibility in sports. “And it took a guy to do something … for people to be, like, oh, athlete activism.” The WNBA has been doing this for years
Though Colin Kaepernick became the face of police brutality demonstrations in 2016, WNBA players actually began protesting before he did.
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