Into the WNBA Bubble

The WNBA’s Gabby Williams is one of the pro athletes using her platform to fight for change.

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About this episode:

Professional sports teams are getting back into the game, against the backdrop of two national crises: the relentless spread of coronavirus, and the national demands for racial justice. For the WNBA, the game plan is two-fold: practicing and playing in “the bubble,” and dedicating the 2020 season to social justice.

The league’s 137 players will spend the next few months living and playing on a sports compound in Florida, with extraordinary medical protocols and protections. Teams are arriving this week at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where they are scheduled to tip off their season at some point in July, without fans in the stands. And a handful of players have not yet been cleared to join them, after testing positive for the virus.

The league is also responding to the national calls for racial justice in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and to the growing number of players who want to raise their voices and use their visibility to work for change. The league has announced that the 2020 season will be dedicated to social justice initiatives, with a special focus on women like Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor and Vanessa Guillen, who "have been the forgotten victims of police brutality and racial violence.”

Host Trymaine Lee talks with Gabby Williams, power forward for the Chicago Sky. Williams reflects on what it’s like to be isolated at the WNBA compound in Florida and what it means to use her position in the current political moment.

Find the transcript here.

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