WNBA players could be running down the court this summer with the names of police brutality victims on their jerseys. That’s if Las Vegas Aces star Angel McCoughtry has anything to do with it.
In an Instagram message posted Monday, June 22, McCoughtry said that she started a petition for the jersey idea, and she also wants to include names of those who’ve been working on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19.
“I will be playing this upcoming @wnba and I am looking forward to continue to fight social injustice issues while playing and supporting front line workers,” wrote McCoughtry. “I am currently working with the @lvaces and @wnba to use our voices, our uniforms, and our sport to continue to impact and create real change.”
“I am creating a petition to allow players the ability to put the FIRST & LAST NAME of HUMAN BEINGS that who have been injured or KILLED in incidents involving POLICE BRUTALITY!” she added. “Even Front line workers during the pandemic.”
McCoughtry’s plan is two-tiered because, on top of wanting names of police brutality victims on jerseys, she wants to support their families.
“The goal is also to create a relationship with the families of who’s name the athlete has chosen,” she detailed. “This is a way to use our platform to be a helping hand during these trying times. Silence is an ally for EVIL and when sports resume WE WILL NOT BE SILENT.”
Some WNBA players have been on conference calls to discuss how they can use their voices during a time when people around the world have been protesting against police brutality and systemic racism.
Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks, the president of WNBA players union, told USA Today she’s been on one of those calls and players will find different ways to protest, an action the WNBA wasn’t always comfortable with.
“In the past, the league had reprimanded us for that,” Ogwumike said in an interview published June 20. “That was a sticking point with trying to figure out how we want to go about this season.”
Meanwhile, McCoughtry’s petition had over 2,000 signatures as of June 26, and she’s gotten plenty of praise for her jersey idea.
“I’m here for this. If you’re going to play, use your platform!! 👏🏻👏🏻❤️,” one person wrote on Instagram.
“Incredible!” another person chimed in. “Keep walking that path and inspiring 🙏🏾.”
McCoughtry, who’s a native of Baltimore, Maryland, spent nine years playing with the Atlanta Dream and will play her first season with the Aces this year.
She joins her former Dream teammate Renee Montgomery in fighting for racial justice. Earlier this month, Montgomery announced that she’d sit out this season to join the struggle.
“After much thought, I’ve decided to opt out of the 2020 WNBA season,” tweeted Montgomery. “There’s work to be done off the court in so many areas in our community. Social justice reform isn’t going to happen overnight but I do feel that now is the time and Moments equal Momentum. Lets keep it going!”
The WNBA announced last week that it’s planning to have a 22-game season starting in July at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, without fan attendance. But details are still being ironed out, and a league start date has yet to be announced.