Activism among athletes is back, and with more urgency than ever, because systemic racial injustice is more evident than ever. This historic week featured NBA, WNBA, MLB, MLS, NHL, NFL and even tennis players walking away in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man by white police in Kenosha, Wis. Here’s this week’s list of winners and losers:
Winners: Players made history by not playing.
Our new daily feature, The Huddle, covered the strike (or boycott, depending on who you ask) by pro athletes. The Huddle is also where you’ll find what’s new in LGBT sports news, the latest links and who’s in the social media spotlight. In support of the protest, The Huddle went on strike starting Thursday night, and will return with a new edition on Sunday. As for the athletes, the MLB and tennis got back to work Friday, the NBA, WNBA and NHL resume play today, including the NBA playoffs and NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.
After the Mystics participated in Wednesday’s WNBA wildcat strike for racial justice, Cloud applauded their activism on social media.
Winners: How Megan Rapinoe, and other LGBT sports stars, helped set stage for current moment in athlete activism
Megan Rapinoe and players on the Minnesota Lynx weren’t championed by their leagues when they took social stands four years ago.
Winner: Before Doc Rivers spoke out so strongly about racism in America, he said: ‘Love who you choose to love’
The powerful words of Los Angeles Clippers Coach Doc Rivers bear intersectional similarities with the struggles of closeted athletes.
Daria Berenato aka Sonya Deville revealed that she came face-to-face with Phillip Thomas II after waking her friend and fellow WWE wrestler Mandy Rose. “I was terrified, I was screaming, ‘What the fuck are you doing here,’” Berenato said. He allegedly texted her from Berenato’s lanai on the night of the incident: “Hey baby, look outside. I’m by your pool.” Thomas also allegedly threatened to murder Berenato’s sisters and parents.
The director of the NWHL Players’ Association said she’s ready to step in, and her timing was perfect; just days later, Milbury announced he’s not coming back to the broadcast for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Playoffs because of his latest offensive comment.
Writing that he was “Shocked. Appalled. Gutted,” gay swimmer Mike Nelson sent Outsports a letter about his four years at the University of Iowa. He wrote that he is stunned by the school’s decision to shut down the program that nurtured him. Now he and other swimmers are fighting back.
Annie Guglia will be representing Canada at the Tokyo Games in the sport’s first year as an official Olympic sport.
The trans athlete was told to stay home during the World Championship, though she helped the team qualify. She opened up about those experience on the latest episode of the Outsports podcast Five Rings To Rule Them All.
Outsports launched a series this week highlighting the lives and perspectives of trans people in rugby, in partnership with International Gay Rugby.
Winners: Rugby players around the world take a stand in support of trans women and non-binary athletes
International Gay Rugby is directly addressing the transgender and non-binary rugby-playing community with the message: ‘You will always be welcome to play rugby.’
Isabella Macbeth, who plays for a female rugby club in South Carolina, credits rugby with helping her through the toughest moments of her transition.
Shoshauna Gauvin has experienced tremendous changes in her game since transitioning. World Rugby should take note.
Seeing her place on the pitch threatened, Grace McKenzie helped forge an internet ‘start-up’ against transphobia.
Winner: This man was the only trans rugby player in the room where it happened: A forum to ban trans women athletes
Before proposing its transban, World Rugby listened to Verity Smith, who played the sport for 26 years and says “I don’t think it’s dangerous” for cis women to play trans women.
Trans athlete, author and researcher Joanna Harper suspects decision-makers at World Rugby “had their minds made up before they called the meeting.”
Emma Gee was floored by the thousands of people, ‘straight and LGBTQ+, religious and secular, who want the world to be more inclusive.’
Dr. Linda Greene is featured in a two-part examination of inequality and invisibility as a lesbian athlete.
Winner: How this national gay sports league is trying to safely operate during Covid, and provide needed relief to LGBT people
Varsity Gay League, which operates in 18 states and boasts an estimated 5,500 players per season, is trying to safely bring back some semblance of normalcy.
The promotion debuted a mix of pro wrestling and drag on the popular streaming platform Wednesday night.
That’s all for this week! I’ll bring you a fresh list of winners and losers next Saturday. Got a name I missed, or want to challenge my choices? Comment here or on Facebook or Instagram, tweet at us, message me via any social media, or just plain email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks!