Women’s basketball community members speak out in response to death of George Floyd and protests
- Women’s basketball community members “Run for Maud” to support justice efforts for Ahmaud Arbery
- Anti-racism Resources for Teachers
- Ending Anti-black Racism Resources
In light of the recent deaths of black Americans at the hands of police and subsequent protests around the country over the last week of May, women’s basketball athletes, coaches, and administrators are once again speaking out against injustice.
The first wave of statements against racism and police brutality came after the death of Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed by an ex-law enforcement officer and his son in Brunswick, Georgia in late February. However, the two were not investigated for the crime until a video surfaced in early May.
The March 13 shooting of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African American woman, by Louisville, Kentucky police officers who invaded her home looking for a man who was already in custody and with no connection to Taylor, also sparked outrage.
With the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25, tensions between police officers and black Americans reached a tipping point that led to protests around the country, many of which turned violent due to outside infiltrators who, in some cases, were white supremacists.
Dawn Staley, the head coach of South Carolina and U.S. senior national women’s team, was among the first high profile coaches to voice her opinion on the murders.
She wrote an essay that appeared in The Players’ Tribune on June 1 outlining her thoughts punctuated by a personal anecdote about her family being afraid that her mother, who grew up in South Carolina, would be lynched after speaking up for herself. From her essay:
Some of these killings you only hear about. You hear about them, and you can only imagine. But you don’t see someone actually lying there. Gasping for air. Taking their last breath. A mother’s son. A brother.
What do you say to young people who’ve seen that video?
What do I say to my nieces and nephews?
What do I say to my players? They’re like my kids.
I want to give them at least some hope that what happened to George Floyd will never happen to them, but I don’t have the words. Because the truth is: That very well could happen to any of us.
Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair, who started his career coaching at an all-black high school in South Dallas, wrote in a statement:
“My heart breaks for the young women in our program and our coaches who are angry, confused and saddened by incidents of the past few weeks, and now, the death of George Floyd. Unfortunately, for many of them and their families, this is not the first time that they must ask, why? We all should be asking why, regardless of our race or ethnicity.”
Others joined in as well, from WNBA players to athletic administrators. The following is just a smattering of some of the messages posted on social media from members of the women’s basketball community. Coaches and athletes continue to post their thoughts and talk about efforts to bring justice for the families of those who died because of the violent effects of systemic racism in the U.S.
Acted quickly, swiftly and in order. https://t.co/uVNR7ZvpBf
— dawnstaley (@dawnstaley) May 28, 2020
A great space was held today by Cal Women’s Basketball lead by @21charmin . Space for discussing social justice issues that affect us all. These moments, opportunities, and discussions are important. Full video on @CalWBBall Instagram IGTV. pic.twitter.com/MkQ8bYDYRX
— ????? ?? (@Coach_Aphil) May 31, 2020
— Niele Ivey (@IrishCoachIvey) May 31, 2020
My thoughts. pic.twitter.com/NIMlVOE0Mu
— ADIA BARNES COPPA ?????????????? (@AdiaBarnes) May 31, 2020
Some athletes would be AMAZING politicians. And I’m not being facetious
Leadership and teamwork skills
These are traits a lot of athletes usually posses
But I probably should shut up and dribbles huh? https://t.co/d3IjmNGny2
— Renee Montgomery (@ReneeMontgomery) May 29, 2020
These photos were taken roughly 5 years ago. Still praying for change. Praying that 3 of my sisters and best friends in the world can live in peace and not fear. The ball eventually stops bouncing but family is forever. #blacklivesmatter #BeTheChange pic.twitter.com/VnBxj9ne6k
— Lindsay Whalen (@Lindsay_13) May 29, 2020
If you’re silent, I don’t fuck with you, period.https://t.co/CZraG1jxk1
— Natasha Cloud (@T_Cloud4) May 30, 2020
One of my players sent me this when I asked what more I should be doing as an outraged white person….”I think it’s important as a person with thousands of followers, is a person of influence, and a role model of people of all races that you speak up on what is right.” pic.twitter.com/18lmEDOWlW
— Jennifer Rizzotti (@JenRizzotti) May 30, 2020
My Mom was living in Detroit during the riots in the summer of 1967. Fast forward to 2020, I’m living in Atlanta during the riots. Until the underlying problem is fixed, History will always repeat itself. #CivilUnrest
— Renee Montgomery (@ReneeMontgomery) May 30, 2020
— UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) May 31, 2020
How many times has this happened when there was no video?? Even with these disgusting and graphic videos, look what we do with them….?? I am sorry for the pain that my privileged society causes people of color in our country. This can't keep happening….??
— Kamie Ethridge (@KamieEthridge) June 1, 2020
WE (white privilege) must wake up, rise up, speak up, and DEMAND change. I can do better. I can use my voice. I can educate myself, mentor my players, listen, learn, and call out WRONG! My footprint is small….but so was that knee on George Floyd's neck…..??
— Kamie Ethridge (@KamieEthridge) June 1, 2020
— Gloria Nevarez (@GloNevarez) June 1, 2020
How do we answer to our children when we don’t have the answers ourselves? This has to change with conversation and action from those directly affected and not and everyone that understands the definition of EQUALITY. #GeorgeFloyd
— Candace Parker (@Candace_Parker) May 31, 2020
I’m so glad I went and played for a BLACK WOMAN. She knew and understood what & where I came from. CVS NEVER BACKED DOWN, instilled PRIDE in me & ALWAYS spoke her mind PERIOD. Thank you for showing me the way. @cvivianstringer ????
— Kahleah Copper (@kahleahcopper) May 31, 2020
Do you know what I refuse to believe? I refuse to believe the myth that once elderly white people pass away, racism will go with them. No, I’ve seen racism as a child from children the same age as me. If you don’t inform a group of people that benefit from racism, HOW WRONG IT IS
— Isabelle Harrison (@OMG_itsizzyb) May 30, 2020
I haven’t had the right words to describe how I have been feeling. But this man says it’s right. I want to feel safe to walk in a white neighborhood anywhere in the world. I’m thinking of the men in my family, my friends, and any black human being. #BLM https://t.co/6QffaN5PCA
— Satou Sabally (@satou_sabally) May 31, 2020
The time for change is now. Enough is enough. pic.twitter.com/hXbSgppm5T
— WNBA (@WNBA) May 29, 2020
For Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and far too many other women, men, children. pic.twitter.com/OBA80TX1BW
— WNBPA (@TheWNBPA) May 29, 2020
WBCA Executive Committee, Executive Director statement regarding racism.
— Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (@WBCA1981) May 31, 2020