Off The Field: WNBA overlooked as being main fighters for equality

Lynx+forward+Napheesa+Collier+gets+fouled+by+Chicago+Sky+guard+Diamond+DeShields+during+the+first+half+of+a+WNBA+game+Thursday+in+Bradenton%2C+Fla.

Chris O'Meara/Star Tribune/TNS

Lynx forward Napheesa Collier gets fouled by Chicago Sky guard Diamond DeShields during the first half of a WNBA game Thursday in Bradenton, Fla.

Keanu Ruffo, Sports Editor

WNBA players’ voices should not be forgotten or silenced when it comes to fighting against inequality and systemic racism.

These women have been at the forefront of these protests, speaking out against police brutality and gun violence.

All 144 WNBA players stood together in their pandemic-induced bubble in Bradenton, Fla., masks on, arms linked, wearing the same black T-shirts with the same bright lettering saying “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor.”

It will be one of the lasting visuals of a historic week in sports, as professional athletes across North America left the courts, the fields and the ice to protest racism and police brutality.

It’s hard to understand why WNBA athletes aren’t receiving much credit or attention their way for being just as if not more politically outspoken as any other professional athlete in another league.

The WNBA, as a main driver in recent years, have long been at the forefront of the sport’s push for social change, setting new standards for activism despite a risk of professional and financial backlash that rocked the foundation of women’s games.

Amira Rose Davis, a professor of history and African American studies at Penn State and co-host of the podcast Burn It All Down, quoted in an interview on why not WNBA players and black female athletes overall are being left out of the conversation regarding activism.

“It is hard to generate the same level of interest, respect and engagement with Black women in sports or Black women overall.”

The WNBA’s unification against systemic racism has forever been long-standing. 

Black female athletes and black women overall should not be overlooked because their voice isn’t loud enough to create change or grab people’s attention.

A lot of the WNBA athletes are braver and more courageous than some of these male athletes and celebrities who won’t even speak on the problems happening in this country.

Black female athletes have to fight for space in ways that men don’t have to.

Female athletes who are lesbian or athletes who identify themselves as nonbinary or gender-nonconforming, are going to have to fight for endorsements or a platform even more rather than other women athletes who are heterosexual.

The WNBA has fueled and inspired the gains women have made and keep reminding people why they keep pushing for equality and respect.

Keep fighting ladies!