WNBA Players Will Wear Breonna Taylor’s Name on Their Jerseys
It’s been 116 days since Breonna Taylor‘s death, and the officers involved in her killing have yet to be held fully accountable. As more time goes on with no justice served, the WNBA and the players union are making sure Taylor’s name isn’t forgotten among the names of many other women whose lives were taken by police brutality and racial violence. On Monday, the league released a statement announcing its intentions to center the upcoming season, which will start in late July, on the Black Lives Matter Movement.
“Teams will wear special uniforms to seek justice for the women and girls, including Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, Vanessa Guillen, and many more who have been the forgotten victims of police brutality and racial violence,” the statement reads, CBS Sports reports.
The WNBA uniforms will specifically honor Taylor, displaying her name, but will represent the ongoing fight for justice for all of the women wrongfully killed.
The players will also wear Nike-branded warm-up shirts that display “Black Lives Matter” on the front and “Say Her Name” on the back. The courts at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida (where all games will be played for the 2020 season) will also prominently feature the words “Black Lives Matter.”
According to ESPN, Las Vegas Aces player Angel McCoughtry and the WNBA reached out to Taylor’s family about the idea for the jerseys. “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, attorney for Taylor’s family said. “And also that proceeds from the sales of the jerseys will go to the Breonna Taylor Foundation.”
McCoughtry addressed responses on Twitter, explaining that the jersey initiative is only one action in a continued fight for justice.
"People have asked, what is putting the names on a jersey gonna do? Well we plant seed for a better tomorrow. Yes, it takes time to grow but in due time amazing things will bloom," McCoughtry wrote.
The names on the jerseys are also only one part of a larger initiative to the advancement of social justice both within and outside of the WNBA. The players have formed a new Social Justice Council “to cultivate designated spaces for community conversations, virtual roundtables, player-produced podcasts, and other activations to address this country’s long history of inequality, implicit bias and systemic racism that has targeted black and brown communities,” the press release reads.
The council will be led by players Layshia Clarendon, Sydney Colson, Breanna Stewart, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, A’ja Wilson and Satou Sabally, and more. Advisers for the council will include Alicia Garza, the founder of Black Futures Lab, a political activist, and co-founder of Black Lives Matter; Carolyn DeWitt, CEO of Rock the Vote; and Beverly Bond, the founder and CEO of BLACK GIRLS ROCK!
“With 140-plus voices all together for the first time ever, we can be a powerful force connecting to our sisters across the country and in other parts of the world,” WNBA Player Association President Nneka Ogwumike said in a statement, CNN reports.