The 2020 WNBA season consists of twelve teams living and playing together since July in the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida for a shortened 22-game schedule followed by the traditional playoff series that began on September 15th. The bizarre season is notable not only for its Covid restrictions regarding players and personnel living in the Bradenton Bubble without any fan support during their games but also is notable for the players’ dedication of their season to Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was killed in a raid on her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky March 13th. All the players have worn Say Her Name Breonna Taylor uniforms in every game, had observations of silence to honor her memory before games, been vocal as a players’ association about police brutality in the systemic racism exemplified by the treatment of black women everywhere.
Two days ago, a Louisville grand jury failed to indict any of the officers for criminal behavior resulting in the death of Ms. Taylor who was shot five times and received no medical attention for more than 20 minutes after she was struck according to reporting by the NY Times yesterday.
Prior to last night’s playoff game between the Minnesota Lynx and the Seattle Storm, Lynx player Napheesa Collier read the following statement on behalf of all the players in the league (Jasmine Thomas of the Connecticut Sun read the same statement before their game against the Las Vegas Aces):
“Our hearts are with Ms. Tamika Palmer. It has been 195 days since her daughter, Breonna Taylor, was killed. One-hundred and 95 days and still today, no one was charged for her death. We strongly support the sentiment expressed by the family of Breonna Taylor. The result is outrageous and offensive. No one needs to live in the commonwealth of Kentucky to understand this case. We won’t stop pressing for full transparency and full and complete justice. There are far too many questions left unanswered.
“Justice is on the ballot. Please register today and vote on or before Nov. 3.”
In another voice with a different platform Oprah Magazine explained the remarkable cover of Breonna Taylor for their September, 2020 issue as follows: “For the first time in 20 years, @oprah has given up her O Magazine cover to honor Breonna Taylor. She says, Breonna Taylor. She was just like you. And like everyone who dies unexpectedly, she had plans. Plans for a future filled with responsibility and work and friends and laughter. Imagine if three unidentified men burst into your home while you were sleeping. And your partner fired a gun to protect you. And then mayhem. What I know for sure: We can’t be silent. We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice. And that is why Breonna Taylor is on the cover of O magazine. I cry for justice in her name…”
Congressman John Lewis issued a moral imperative for all of us. When we see something is not right, not fair, not just – we have a moral obligation to do something about it. I salute the courage of the players in the WNBA for doing something about the death of Breonna Taylor in their 2020 season, and I thank Oprah for the empathy she has for the family of Breonna Taylor in their unspeakable loss.
Adding our voices to cry for justice in the name of Breonna Taylor – we are no longer lone voices crying in the wilderness of separation and fear. Together we stand for Breonna Taylor, her family, for justice.
Say Her Name: Breonna Taylor and plan your vote for November 3rd.
Stay safe, stay sane and stay tuned.