The WNBA and its players are preparing to return to the basketball court later this month in Florida, after sports across America were abruptly halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
While of course the league is making preparations to ensure the safety of its players and employees, another important matter has been top of mind: racial justice. The killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and so many others at the hands of the police have sparked protests around the country, and now ESPN is reporting one of the ways the WNBA will call attention to the Black Lives Matter cause.
According to the outlet, the league and the players’ union have reached an agreement on a way they will honor women like Taylor, as well as Sandra Bland and Vanessa Guillen. Players will wear warm-up shirts that read “Black Lives Matter” on the front and “Say Her Name” on the back. The WNBA said the jerseys will also specifically highlight Taylor. The basketball courts will feature Black Lives Matter messaging as well.
“Breonna’s mom [Tamika Palmer] was very honored the players wanted to do this in honor of Breonna and all the other women killed in police custody,” Lonita Baker, the lawyer for Taylor’s family, told ESPN. “And also that proceeds from the sales of the jerseys will go to the Breonna Taylor Foundation.”
This is all part of a platform the WNBA is calling the Justice Movement. As part of the platform, ESPN reports, the league has formed a Social Justice Council led by players, including Layshia Clarendon, Sydney Colson, Breanna Stewart, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, A’ja Wilson, and Satou Sabally. Outside advisers will include Alicia Garza, the founder of Black Futures Lab, a political activist, and cofounder of Black Lives Matter; Carolyn DeWitt, CEO of Rock the Vote; and Beverly Bond, the founder and CEO of Black Girls Rock! This council “will create community conversations, virtual roundtables, player-produced podcasts, and other activations to address inequality, implicit bias, and systemic racism that has targeted Black and brown communities,” ESPN said.
In spite of the WNBA’s efforts to shine a light on the Black Lives Matter movement, some players—like Renee Montgomery of the Atlanta Dream and Natasha Cloud of the Washington Mystics—are skipping the season to focus on social justice.
One of the sport’s biggest stars, Maya Moore, stepped away from the game last year, in the prime of her career, to help free a wrongfully convicted man named Jonathan Irons from prison. On July 1 he was finally released.
The WNBA season will begin its shortened 22-game season (plus the playoffs) in Florida later this month.
Originally Appeared on Glamour