Column: WNBA will be proven to be on right side of history

Photo Credit: WNBA

In this most atypical of WNBA seasons, it is entirely unusual even in our modern sporting climate for a league’s opening day – or in this case an opening week to be devoted to something bigger than the final score.

But the WNBA has never been a typical sports league.

With the vast majority of its player base being women of color, it has always seen itself as being a change agent and using the popularity of basketball to its advantage.

This past weekend, we were treated to some exciting basketball in Florida. All 12 teams participated in the W’s opening weekend of games. But all you had to do was look at the back of the jerseys the players wor ethat had Breonna Taylor’s name on them in addition to “Black Lives Matter” being on both courts in Florida in addition to shirts that many team and league staffers wore that said “Say Her Name” and saw scores and stats were not all that important.

For all of the unnecessary flack the WNBA, its teams and its players receive, one cannot deny that these women recognize their status as change agents. They recognize now more than ever that women are to be listened to and that any real change in our social landscape has to be done with women’s input.

What happened to Breonna Taylor was absolutely unconscionable – and there should be punishment for her murder. Unfortunately, the Louisville officers involved are still free – in large part because of a rogue attorney general in Kentucky who obviously has not woken up and realized that he could have very easily been her father.

Her death hit home for many, but had to doubly so for those such as Angel McCoughtry, Myisha Hines-Allen, Asia Durr, Jazmine Jones and countless others that called Louisville home en route to the pros.

As expected, the above gesture that we saw Storm and Liberty players was roundly criticized by those who either have no clue of the Black experience in America or who simply wanted to push this (false) narrative that the WNBA has no fans.

Let us be clear – the W has fans. Lots and lots and lots of them. And a great deal of them live in countries that are not the United States. Secondly, the WNBA will have been proven, when all is said and done, to be on the right side of history. Because the league, its teams and its players stood up for justice when that side of justice needs powerful voices like those of the W the most.

We saw it in 2016 when players staged on-court protests after the murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. We have seen it on numerous occasions over the last four years – including protests of the travel ban from Middle Eastern countries. We saw it with Maya Moore’s work in getting Jonathan Irons’ conviction overturned. Now, we are seeing it again with WNBA players letting their collective voices be heard in support of Black Lives Matter.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” How Maya Moore worked tirelessly to ensure Irons became a free man is a perfect example of that and how those from the W are raising their voices to push for change is a major reason why history will speak glowingly of these women.

Women who are proving themselves to be role models for young girls – both on and off the court.