Column: Let’s look forward to WNBA visits at the White House again

Photo Credit: KARE 11

On January 21, 2021, we will officially be rid of the…mess…that was the last four years and inaugurate a new president and vice president that will surely restore the White House to some modicum of decency, class and empathy that we are used to from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

But also when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are inaugurated, it will also likely mean that professional and college athletes from several sports – including our beloved WNBA – will actually look forward to planning said White House visits again.

Three years ago, I wrote a similar column here at Beyond The W shortly after the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl that several Eagles players wanted nothing to do with visiting you-know-who at the White House. Hence, the Eagles were disinvited.

The same also happened in the cases of several WNBA teams the last four years that won championships – as was the case with college basketball teams that won national championships. Granted – the Baylor 2019 women’s hoops team that won that season’s national championship did receive a White House visit.

Obviously, our president-elect and vice president-elect have a few more pressing issues to think about, but honoring championship-winning teams at the White House has become a time-honored tradition. With everything that the 45th said about Black athletes, one cannot blame WNBA, NBA, NFL and players from other sports that felt they want nothing to do stopping by 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue while that orange thing was in it.

That orange thing will soon be out of that residence. Whether he likes it or not, he lost the election. His days in that Oval Office are numbered.

And when those days in that White House finally reach zero, someone from the team that plays right up the street from said White House hopes her team will receive a vist from the soon-to-be 46th president.

Natasha Cloud of the Washington Mystics took to Twitter and hoped her team, that won the 2019 WNBA championship, can get a “make-up” visit to make good on the fact that Mystics players wanted nothing to do with agent orange.

We are sure Biden will oblige. After all, he is cool with one of Cloud’s Mystics teammates in Elena Delle Donne. She is Delaware’s favorite daughter and Biden is the First State’s favorite son. Not to mention he shouted out Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe on social after their recent engagement announcement.

Do not worry … Cloud and the ‘Stics will get that White House visit. The 2017 Minnesota Lynx as well as the 2018/20 Seattle Storm are owed too.

Something to also remember – there once was a period of time where being honored at the White House by the Commander-In-Chief was not a partisan event. Regardless of whether the president was a Republican like a Bush or a Democrat such as a Clinton or Obama, just visiting the White House was a life experience you would tell your future children about if you were a Cynthia Cooper, a Kara Lawson or a Maya Moore.

But for WNBA players, the visits to the White House of the Obama years had added meaning given he was the first Black president and the W is a league that is 90% Black. Given that Biden’s right-hand person is a Black woman, those trips to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will be even more meaningful within the WNBA family. When they see Harris at the White House, it will not simply be the Vice President of the United States – they will be seeing themselves.

Representation matters – something that was not happening at all in the outgoing administration. At least the upcoming administration will be a return when women were encouraged to defy societal norms, be every bit as good (and better) than the boys and one where Title IX is not simply seen as the “Lesbians’ Bill of Rights.”

When women athletes are honored by Biden and Harris, we will know it is real, genuine and authentic and the athletes that will pass through 1600 will know that the incoming administration will be filled with individuals that exude those values.

Black athletes – particularly the Black women athletes of the W – understand that the incoming administration will not demean and degrade them for putting a spotlight on issues that are important to them – such as police brutality and overall systemic racism. They will be honored for it because they will finally be seen, once again, as human beings rather than simply objects for entertainment.

Joe Biden may be the president-elect and Kamala Harris may be the vice president-elect. Whether it has been through on-court protests at Madison Square Garden or kneeling in the wubble to protest the killing of Breonna Taylor, we have seen that there are plenty of Kamala Harris’ within the W’s ranks.

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