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MLB and WNBA Support Black Lives Matter Movement and Honor Breonna Taylor

Basketball

Baseball and basketball regular seasons began this weekend, and while the season starts were fun to watch, it was the leagues’ calls for social justice that really blew us away.

July 27, 2020
MINNESOTA LYNX/TWITTER
MINNESOTA LYNX/TWITTER

The GIST: Baseball and basketball regular seasons began this weekend, and while the season starts were fun to watch, it was the leagues’ calls for social justice that really blew us away.

What happened?: The MLB had been relatively quiet during the recent Black Lives Matter protests, but support for the movement was abundant this weekend. “BLM” has been stamped into pitchers' mounds, players can choose to wear a “Black Lives Matter” patch on their jerseys and many players knelt before games after messages of unity played on the loudspeaker. Unprecedented, and long overdue.

  • After Dr. Fauci’s cringeworthy pitch started the season off, Thursday’s Opening Day matchup between the Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees saw all players kneel for the national anthem as they each held a single black ribbon stretched between the two teams.

Awesome. Any other MLB news?: Elsewhere in the league, the Miami Marlins had to find a new pitcher for yesterday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies, after starter Jose Urena was one of four players to test positive for COVID-19. They still won 11–6.

  • The Boston Red Sox are down a pitcher, too. Ahead of summer training, Eduardo Rodriguez tested positive for COVID-19 but was cleared to play on July 18th. Unfortunately, during a recent routine medical check, doctors found a heart issue that’s likely linked to the virus. Scary.

And in basketball?: The WNBA season started Saturday, and ahead of the opening matchup between the Seattle Storm and the New York Liberty, all players returned to their locker rooms for the anthem. Upon returning, the players stood for 26 seconds of silence in honor of Breonna Taylor, who was killed at age 26.

  • Storm’s Breanna Stewart and Liberty’s Layshia Clarendon also spoke about Taylor before the game and assured fans that her name, along with Sandra Bland, Vanessa Guillén and other victims of police brutality and racial violence, will not be forgotten.
     
  • Players will wear the names of these women on their jerseys throughout the season and will wear “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name” t-shirts during pregame warm-ups. Some players even have customized “Say Her Name” shoes. Powerful.

Love it. And how were the games?: Most notably, Seattle won the season-opener 87–71 over the Liberty, which wasn’t a shock based on last season’s standings. And unsurprisingly, superstar Stewart led the Storm with 18 points while veteran point guard Clarendon led the Liberty with 20 points. What was surprising, though, was rookie Sabrina Ionescu’s (pronounced YOH-NESS-COO) relatively quiet Liberty debut.

  • Ionescu, a bonafide superstar after an unprecedented college career, put up just 12 points on Saturday, which is average by her standards. Regardless, it was so fun to see her back in action.