Once again, I am in awe of Breanna Stewart

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 1: Breanna Stewart /

Breanna Stewart wrote an essay for the Player’s Tribune that went live on Monday morning. In it, she tells her personal story about being molested repeatedly over the course of two years when she was a child.

Stop what you’re doing and read it here.

Like many in the sports world — especially as someone who grew up in Connecticut, idolizing the UConn men’s and women’s basketball teams — I spent my morning reading, re-reading, and thinking about Stewart’s words. I’ve met Stewart a few times, interviewing her in locker rooms and conversing with her occasionally on Twitter. But I only claim to know her as a basketball player. A damn good basketball player, who left me in awe routinely through her four years in Storrs and now into her young professional career. Still, when you watch an athlete play 40 times over the course of the year, then 40 times the next year, and the two years after that, it feels like you know them. Stewart became a part of my life, even if she couldn’t pick me out of a lineup. Just like her teammates, just like the players on the men’s team, and just like all 25 members of the New York Yankees.

I’m one of thousands who can say that, and that’s how I know I’m also one of thousands who was shocked by what they read this morning. Not shocked that something so awful could happen to someone who, by all accounts, is such an extraordinary person. More shocked because it revealed a side that I, the fan, never knew existed. And if Stewart has gone though these horrors, surely other athletes I have watched have as well. And if other athletes have as well, surely other people in my life, probably even some who I know personally.

It was an eye-opening morning for me, and that’s part of the reason why Stewart’s courage here is so important. I know more now about how somebody I admire deals with adversity than I did 12 hours ago. As I so often am after watching her on the court, I am in awe of Stewart.

The response from the rest of the sports world has been just as amazing. It is not my place to encourage others to speak out about things that they’ve experienced but I never have. It’s not my place to even suggest how someone should deal with something like this. But here’s what I do know: If you read Stewart’s essay and connect with it in a deeper, darker way than I could, you are not alone. The outpouring of support proves that. Maybe that helps and maybe it doesn’t. I don’t know.

But read her essay again. Then read some of the responses to it:

And there are hundreds more. From coaches, athletes, fans, celebrities, you name it.

Compared to many, I know nothing. But I know how powerful Stewart’s voice is because of all the others that have gathered behind her.

That’s why, yet again, I’m in awe.