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WNBA Players Advocate for Black Lives Matter

The WNBA and its union have agreed to honor women who have died as a result of police action, like Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, and Vanessa Guillen. To that end, when the league resumes later this month WNBA players will wear warm-up shirts that say, "Black Lives Matter" on the front and "Say Her Name" on the back. "Black Lives Matter" will also be featured prominently on the courts at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. These actions are part of a joint platform to promote social justice by the WNBA called "The Justice Movement," which will also include a Social Justice Council, the members of which will include players, political activists, and other relevant community members.

The Social Justice Council is intended to create community conversations, virtual roundtables, player-produced podcasts, and other actions to address inequality, implicit bias, and systemic racism that has targeted Black and brown communities. WNBA players have been integral to the inclusion of racial equality and social justice as a central focus of the new season. Several WNBA players, including Renee Montgomery of the Atlanta Dream and Natasha Cloud of the Washington Mystics, are sitting out the WNBA season to focus on social justice, and several others considered doing so. Minnesota Lynx star Maya Moore sat out the previous season to work toward the release of a Jonathan Irons, who was wrongly convicted and recently freed after 23 years in prison.

Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), co-owner of the Atlanta Dream and staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, has expressed her strong opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement and has instead suggested that the league put an American flag on every jersey. A number of current and former WNBA players have called for removal of Loeffler as co-owner of the Dream. In a statement the WNBA responded, "The WNBA is based on the principle of equal and fair treatment of all people and we, along with the teams and players, will continue to use our platforms to vigorously advocate for social justice. Sen. Kelly Loeffler has not served as a Governor of the Atlanta Dream since October 2019 and is no longer involved in the day-to-day business of the team."