WNBA player Layshia Clarendon isn’t shying away from how she feels about President Donald Trump, or ESPN anchor Jemele Hill’s statements that the President is a “white supremacist.”
Over the weekend Clarendon attended a premiere of the new film “Battle of the Sexes,” which centers around Billie Jean King’s fight for equality for female professional tennis players and her historic tennis match against Bobby Riggs.
Clarendon’s attire for the evening was a light jacket and a shirt featuring Hill’s smiling face. Clarendon posted the above photo of the evening on Instagram after the movie premiere with a message supporting King and Hill, and calling the President a ‘White Supremacist.’
“I would have been with Billie then,” she wrote, “and I'm for sure with Jemele now. Relevant movie premiere as we continue to fight for equal justice everywhere. #BattleOfTheSexes #Sexism #Sports #SocialJustice #HeIsAWhiteSupremacist #IntersectionalOrNothing cred & creative: @kagawacolas”
Hill said on Twitter last week that President Trump is a “white supremacist” who has surrounded himself with other white supremacists. A debate has ensued over whether Hill’s comments were accurate or appropriate, and what actions her employer, ESPN, should take.
When reached for comment by Outsports, Clarendon did not mince words.
"I wanted to take the opportunity to publicly stand with Jemele Hill,” Clarendon told Outsports. “I support courageous people in the media who speak out, and especially those like her who speak truth to power and ensure black women are represented and have a voice.
“This is an unprecedented time as we have an unashamed white supremacist in office. We can't pretend this is normal or okay. Especially at a movie premiere like that, it reminded me how far we've come and how much of a fight we have left."
The WNBA is standing by Clarendon’s right to use her platform to speak publicly on issues that matter the most to her.
“WNBA players have long asserted their right to speak out on issues that matter to them and to our country,” WNBA President Lisa Borders told Outsports. “They have used that voice to spur discussion, bridge divides and reflect on the values of equality and dignity that unite us. It is a right that we respect, a voice that we hear and platform that we embrace.”
Clarendon was the ninth overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft and currently plays for the Atlanta Dream. She was a star at the Univ. of California, where she lead the Golden Bears to the team’s first Final Four appearance. She was named a WNBA All-Star this year.
Clarendon has been an outspoken advocate for inclusion of the LGBTQ community, women and racial minorities for years. While many athletes have shied away from engaging in policy or political conversations, Clarendon has used her position of influence to contribute to these conversations. She received Outsports’ Hero of the Year award in 2015.