WNBA player Angel McCoughtry has started a petition calling on players to "use their uniform as a platform" and place the names of those killed or injured by police on their jerseys.
"In an effort to promote racial equality, I have created a petition to encourage players to use their uniform as a platform to promote the names of men and women of color who were injured or killed in incidents involving police brutality. Let's use our voices, our platforms, and our sport for change," McCoughtry wrote on the Change.org petition.
In an Instagram post, McCoughtry explained that she wanted the league to find some way to support frontline workers and promote social justice issues.
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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. ⠀ ⠀ 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 (LINK IN BIO) 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! Even Front line workers during the pandemic The goal is also to create a relationship with the families of who’s name the athlete has chosen. 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. ⠀ ⠀ #SayTheirNames ⠀ #blacklivesmatter ⠀ #thetimeisnow
"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 (LINK IN BIO) 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 wrote.
"Even Front line workers during the pandemic. The goal is also to create a relationship with the families of who’s name the athlete has chosen. 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," she continued.
McCoughtry spent nine seasons of her WNBA career with the Atlanta Dream and now plays for the Las Vegas Aces.
The league announced last week that a 22-game season will be played starting in July at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. But multiple players have already said they will not play in order to spend time with family and contribute to the recent protests against racism.
After much thought, I’ve decided to opt out of the 2020 WNBA season. 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!
— Renee Montgomery (@itsreneem_) June 18, 2020
WNBA players are well known for taking public stances on social issues, with dozens of players speaking out about the Orlando nightclub shooting and other significant events, according to Bleacher Report.
Players in both the WNBA and NBA have been having in-depth discussions about whether they should resume playing in light of everything happening. Last week, multiple NBA players like Kyrie Irving and Dwight Howard came out against resuming gameplay, saying athletes have power in their communities that is needed during the current fight for change.
Players in the WNBA are having similar discussions as well, especially now that they know the league's leadership is behind them. Multiple players were fined thousands of dollars for wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts in 2016 and for wearing clothing with the names of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling.
But this time, the WNBA has already told players the league will support whatever kind of protest they come up with. Nneka Ogwumike, Los Angeles Sparks forward and WNBA players’ union president, recently spoke to USA Today about what players might do to speak out as they play.
“We are leading and they are following based on how we want the season to be in terms of how we express ourselves with Black Lives Matter and social injustice. There are no plans I can tell you as of now. But I will say we are very much on the calls navigating and coordinating how we want to express ourselves collectively and individually,” Ogwumike said.