WNBA star Maya Moore sat out the entire season last year and helped overturn the conviction of Jonathan Irons, who was serving a 50-year prison sentence.
He was finally released today.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 2, 2020
For Black people in the United States, justice seems difficult to come by. That is why it is important to keep pushing and keep fighting – as Maya Moore did on behalf of Jonathan Irons.
For as long as I have known @MooreMaya, this has been her priority. Well done, friend.
Welcome home, Jonathan.https://t.co/R7DPmEBcsw
— Kristen Ledlow (@KristenLedlow) July 1, 2020
She did not have to put her career on hold. One of the centerpieces of the Minnesota Lynx’s 2010’s dynasty could have decided to extend said dynasty into the 2020s. She had won numerous awards, MVPs, appeared in All-Star Games, won All-Star MVPs, four WNBA championships and a number of Olympic gold medals.
But Moore wanted to pursue a victory that would have meant more to her than any of her many athletic accomplishments – the freeing of Jonathan Irons – which became a reality after a major effort by Moore and many others to make said release a reality.
How much did this cause mean to Moore? She sat out the entire 2019 WNBA season and announced earlier this year that she would sit out the 2020 season as well.
Earlier this year, Cole County, Missouri judge Dan Green ordered that the convictions of Irons, who was convicted after a burglary and shooting in the St. Louis area. The original conviction sentenced Irons to 50 years behind bars.
Missouri’s Attorney General, Eric Schmitt filed appeals which failed with further proceedings leaving the case at the feet of Tim Lohmar, the lead prosecutor for St. Charles County.
Lohmar decided not to have the case retried, paving the way for Irons’ release.
Fingerprint evidence (or lack thereof) played a major role in Green’s choice to overturn the conviction of Irons. Irons’ defense team never received the report, which could have helped its case while Schmitt attempted to argue otherwise.
Irons was greeted by Moore, her family and a number of other supporters outside the Jefferson City Correctional Center when he was released.
I feel like I can live life now.
I’m free, I’m blessed, I just want to live my life worthy of God’s help and influence.
I thank everybody who supported me – Maya and her family.
Maya Moore should probably be the lead topic for every sports show tomorrow. Don’t overthink this.
— Alex Bazzell (@alexbazzell24) July 2, 2020
When we talk about athlete activists, Maya Moore deserves to be in the pantheon right next to Ali. I hope everyone will be told about her sacrifice and advocacy on behalf of Jonathan Irons. What she accomplished is unprecedented and unparalleled.
— Katie Barnes (@katie_barnes3) July 2, 2020
Maya Moore is an absolute legend. https://t.co/bCYPD2NMpD
— Bria Felicien (@briafelicien) July 1, 2020
We literally can’t talk enough about Maya Moore. What a legend. https://t.co/2ehloeOl49
— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) July 2, 2020
Maya Moore is a hero https://t.co/IrAUo8LGux
— Mickstape (@MickstapeShow) July 2, 2020
Maya Moore is not only a hero, an icon, a genius and a scholar… she’ll also BUST YOUR ASS on the court https://t.co/DRi1ffzUwH
— MichaelRapaport (@MichaelRapaport) July 2, 2020
Dream fulfilled! https://t.co/kpR59SXV3p
— Jim Petersen (@JimPeteHoops) July 2, 2020
— Maya Moore (@MooreMaya) July 2, 2020
Looking forward to this…I probably won’t sleep a wink tonight in anticipation of speaking with both of you tomorrow morning! https://t.co/JNEjZW3lLF
— Robin Roberts (@RobinRoberts) July 2, 2020