WNBA players continue to be catalysts for justice
The highest professional level of women’s basketball features not only amazing athletes, but incredible people dedicated to working toward equality. At the forefront of the Black Lives Matter movement are the black women of the WNBA.
Washington Mystics forward Tina Charles did not play in the bubble season due to a medical exemption, but her offense was still in full display. Charles has always been a leader for social justice, and by donating her entire 2020 salary to BLM she extended her now eight year streak of giving her salary to charity.
Olympic track medalist Wyomia Tyus has praised the WNBA athletes for their action, and believes that the momentum they are beginning to build is in large part due to finally having an audience who is willing to listen. However, they still have nowhere near the platform of their male counterparts, despite their more impressive and collective effort.
The gold-medalist said, “And you hear about what’s happening with [men’s] basketball, you hear about what LeBron James is doing [with social justice] … every day in the news, but you definitely don’t hear about what the WNBA is doing.” The more the world starts to pay attention to these athletes, the closer we will come to achieving equality.
We are not the only country in the middle of a massive social justice campaign. In Belarus there is no freedom of speech, so when former WNBA player Yelena Leuchanka gathered in the streets to peacefully protest against the corrupt election system, she joined many of her fellow nationals in getting arrested.
Leuchanka served a two-week sentence, but the alarming rate of citizen demonstrations being met with police brutality after 3 months of protesting just fuels her fire. “If you cut yourself, and it’s not healing and you continue to press on the cut, eventually it’s going to start bleeding.” Leuchanka does not receive as much attention since she is outside of the United States, but she is yet another example of women in basketball putting other people first to aid in the fight for justice.
In what will be a decisive few weeks leading up to and after the presidential election, look for WNBA stars to be at the head of the good fight.