Brittney Griner is again within the information — however she didn’t must be. Over the previous couple of days, conversations about women’s basketball dominated the sports world after Griner was harassed at Dallas-Fort Price Worldwide Airport by a Blaze Media YouTube character — a white man. What got here subsequent was a renewed dialog in regards to the want for common chartered flights. Nevertheless, none of this could have occurred if the WNBA was handled like a white league.
Like most issues in America, and on this planet, race has all the time been on the coronary heart of this matter. And regardless of the “travel adjustments” that might be on the best way for Griner and the Phoenix Mercury — and different groups across the league — if issues are going to enhance within the WNBA, it’ll begin by lastly addressing the elephant that’s been within the room since Day One. Which is that white girls get handled higher than Black girls in society.
If you wish to make a league that’s dominated by queer Black girls higher, then deal with each participant as you’ll a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, straight white lady — and watch how shortly, and drastically, issues change. Privilege supplies instantaneous outcomes.
Past the truth that Griner’s skin color and sexuality played a huge role in her being jailed in Russia, and the dialogue about whether or not or not she was “worthy” of what it took to carry her residence, the underbelly of the WNBA resembles society in its desire for eager for extra white stars.
This league would find it irresistible if Sabrina Ionescu grew to become the participant they wished her to be. And that’s not a shot at Ionescu, who’s actually good. However, let’s not act like what she seems like doesn’t play a consider her reputation. If the WNBA was filled with Sabina Ionescus then it might be a better promote.
“We’ve moved the chains, however we’re not almost as profitable as we might be if we have been invested in additional,” Dawn Staley told ESPN final yr when discussing the “30 for 30” documentary Dream On, about how the 1996 U.S. Girls’s Olympic group she was on helped launch the WNBA. “Girls’s basketball has been profitable regardless of what’s typically bare-minimum funding. We’re searching for increasingly alternatives.”
An actual-life instance of that’s the fanfare and popularity of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team compared to the women’s basketball team. In July of 2021, of the 18 girls that made up Team USA’s soccer roster, solely two of them have been Black. It was the alternative for basketball, as 9 of the 12 members of their roster have been Black. The group was additionally coached by Staley, making her the primary Black lady to ever coach Workforce USA’s girls’s senior group. The ladies’s basketball group hasn’t misplaced within the Olympics since 1992, however but, Carli Lloyd, and Megan Rapinoe’s squad was the ladies’s group that was getting an even bigger push.
“Enjoying for Workforce USA means loads as a result of as Black folks, we don’t get that love from our nation,” Lisa Leslie said of her blackness within the documentary, as reported by Jezebel. “In these moments, individuals are simply folks, human beings. They cheer they usually have a good time collectively with out judging. When you might see the sweetness in me, then perhaps you possibly can see it in one other Black lady.”
For the entire positives factor that the WNBA has performed over time, overwhelmingly all of them are linked to work that’s been performed by Black girls. Let’s not overlook that Kelly Loeffler was once an NBA owner and that Las Vegas Aces head coach Becky Hammon — a white lady — had to serve a two-game suspension without pay resulting from feedback she made to All-Star ahead Dearica Hamby — a Black lady — about her being pregnant.
And also you marvel why Dr. Jill Biden initially wanted to welcome Caitlin Clark and Iowa to the White Home to share in Angel Reese and LSU’s second.
The WNBA’s participant union is likely one of the strongest in sports activities, they usually proved that by helping get Raphael Warnock elected when he defeated Loeffler within the 2021 Georgia Senate runoff race. However but, Cathy Engelbert continues to be the league’s commissioner. And he or she’s a lady that doesn’t do effectively with social points.
“I feel we’d consider it throughout what our world video games platform seems like,” Engelbert stated about WNBA contemplating taking part in a recreation in Saudi Arabia simply days after the PGA chose money over morals and partnered with LIV Golf. “It wouldn’t be the primary place I went, for positive, however we had this chance in Canada, Europe, Asia, and Africa.”
And simply final summer time on the WNBA All-Star Sport in Chicago, Engelbert said that a Chance the Rapper concert for WNBA Live was not open to the public due to fears resulting from gun violence. Nevertheless, a spokesperson from the Chicago Police Department told WTTW that they didn’t advise Engelbert, or the league, to restrict out of doors occasions, together with the live performance.
So, sure, that is about Brittney Griner, and the necessity for WNBA owners to stop being cheap when it comes to chartering flights for his or her groups. However, it’s primarily about how the WNBA all the time has been and all the time will likely be, dominated by a bunch of folks that the league, and society don’t need to correctly cater to — Black girls. Perhaps that’s why so many individuals have been so shocked when Kelsey Plum obtained such a puny trophy from Cathy Engelbert after winning MVP of the 2022 All-Star Game. As a result of if this league would give a white lady one thing like that, simply think about how they actually really feel about Black girls behind closed doorways.