This is what blowback looks like
Elena Delle Donne played with a seriously-injured back while leading the Washington Mystics to the 2019 WNBA title. A two-time WNBA MVP and six-time All-Star, she also dealt with the ramifications of Lyme Disease, an infectious illness she has battled since 2008.
Delle Donne needed surgery in January 2020 to correct her back, and she takes up to 50 supplements a day to combat the Lyme Disease.
Back in 2008, Delle Donne relinquished a scholarship to Connecticut and enrolled at Delaware to be closer to her sister Lizzie, who has cerebral palsy and is blind and deaf.
In other words, one of the faces of the WNBA has never put her own interests first.
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Yet the WNBA denied the superstar an injury exception that would have allowed her to sit out the league’s 2020 season at the IMG Academy sports complex in Bradenton, Fla. with pay.
Though the WNBA and Mystics have not publicly commented on the decision, Delle Donne weighed in with a statement to ESPN.
Said the seven-year pro: “The independent panel of doctors the league appointed to review high-risk cases have advised that I’m not high risk, and should be permitted to play in the bubble.
“I love my team, and we had an unbelievable season last year, and I want to play! But the question is whether or not the WNBA bubble is safe for me. My personal physician who has treated me for Lyme disease for years advised me that I’m at high risk for contracting and having complications from COVID-19.”
The announcement was met with harsh criticism on social media — with many asking how the WNBA could justify its decision. Fans blasted the league for its process, pointing out that the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) has let its players sit out this season — with pay — without reason.