The WNBA season is set to tip off on July 24th. And unfortunately, instead of talking about the upcoming season, it’s what’s happening off the court that’s in the spotlight...and not for the best reasons.
The GIST: The WNBA season is set to tip off on July 24th. And unfortunately, instead of talking about the upcoming season, it’s what’s happening off the court that’s in the spotlight...and not for the best reasons.
What’s going on?: Like many other leagues, the WNBA is going the hub city route, with all teams living, practicing and playing in a bubble environment (affectionately referred to as the #wubble) at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
- But unlike many other *cough* men’s leagues *cough* the “wubble” is not swanky. Players have been sharing pics and videos of the substandard living arrangements, including a sparse laundry room featuring a mouse trap, bedrooms with broken beds and dirty floors, and reports of bed bugs, meager food and bad plumbing.
- On top of that, the league didn’t charter flights for the players, so most have travelled to Florida via commercial airlines. This, of course, puts them at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19 and totally contradicts the purpose of the bubble. The league has some fixing to do, ASAP.
Seriously. What else?: In addition to the Fyre Festival situation going on in Florida, the league is also dealing with Kelly Loeffler. Loeffler is a part owner of the Atlanta Dream and a U.S. Senator from Georgia. And earlier this week, she sent a letter to WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert, asking her to reconsider supporting Black Lives Matter and to disallow players from wearing messages of protest or support on their jerseys.
Ugh. How did the league respond?: Engelbert, thankfully, is having none of it. On Tuesday, the WNBA released a statement denouncing Loeffler’s involvement in the Dream, saying the league is “based on the principle of equal and fair treatment of all people,” and reinforced their commitment “to use our platforms to vigorously advocate for social justice.”
- The players aren’t having any of it either. Many are calling for Loeffler to give up her ownership, with the WNBA Players Association tweeting “E-N-O-U-G-H! O-U-T!”
- Washington Mystic star Natasha Cloud (who, reminder, has opted out of this season to fight for social justice) even “called her BS” in an interview on CNN, saying that Loeffler’s lack of support in a league made up of 80% Black females “is a problem.” Yup, and that’s putting it lightly.