This year’s ESPY Awards, being entirely virtual, was devoid of the pomp and circumstance that typically come with the annual event that honors the best of sports.
It was still no less notable – especially for a WNBA perspective. It and its players union were honored with the Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award for its work on ironing out a new collective bargaining agreement that led to increased salaries and benefits for players as well as an increased long-term investment in the league.
The new agreement is scheduled to last through 2027.
— WNBA (@WNBA) June 23, 2020
It also led to changes in travel, maternity benefits, marketing, revenue-sharing and free agency – which was seen throughout the course of the WNBA’s free agency period where a number of big name players changed teams.
These included Angel McCoughtry to the Las Vegas Aces, Kristi Toliver to the Los Angeles Sparks, Layshia Clarendon to the New York Liberty, a trade of Skylar Diggins-Smith to the Phoenix Mercury, a trade of DeWanna Bonner to the Connecticut Sun, Leilani Mitchell returning to the Washington Mystics, Shekinna Stricklen going to the Atlanta Dream, Courtney Williams being traded to the Dream, Seimone Augustus to LA, Chelsea Gray re-signing with the Sparks and Tina Charles being traded to the Mystics.
The event was hosted Sue Bird, Megan Rapinoe and Russell Wilson (which begs the question why the entire ESPYs wasn’t simply one extra long A Touch More episode). Without sports to distract us, it allowed athletes to pay closer attention to larger issues in society – including systemic racism and police brutality.
The ESPYs open, that included women’s sports’ first couple, was no exception.
— ESPN (@espn) June 22, 2020