After the Washington Mystics won the WNBA title last week, Martenzie Johnson took to the ESPN blog, The Undefeated, to declare that athletes who are heavily into social justice activism are not distractions, but champions. The WNBA is considered the most far Left league in American sports, and the mouthy Mystics are one of the most socially active teams in that league.
"The Mystics use their heightened platform to openly discuss gun violence, celebrate the LGBTQ community, speak out against anti-abortion laws, advocate for equal pay, and denounce racism and police-involved shootings," Johnson boasts.
"They refused to shut up and dribble. And won."
Earlier in the season, the team (see team members in above photo) held a media blackout and refused to answer reporters’ questions. Instead, they discussed gun violence.
Natasha Cloud, who plays guard on the court and serves unofficially as "point SJW" off the court for the brash-talking team, says the Mystics are doing the nation a public service with their activism.:
“We’re in the most powerful city in the world. There’s a lot of politics and issues that are handled here in D.C., so we’d be doing a disservice to a bunch of people if we didn’t speak up and use our platform.”
Ted Leonsis, CEO for the organization (Monumental Sports & Entertainment) that owns the Mystics, Washington Capitals and Wizards, encourages the team in its social justice activism. So does head coach/general manager Mike Thibault.
Thibault told the players they have "a duty" to speak up as a team.:
“That’s our responsibility as human beings. We play basketball for a living, just like the guy who goes to work at Microsoft or Google or anything else. They’re allowed their opinions, we’re allowed ours. But because we’re public figures … if they can affect social change and help somebody else by their presence and by their fame, then that’s even better.”
The source of inspiration for the Mystics' social justice activism is hardly surprising: Colin Kaepernick. His protests against police brutality and racial inequality, during pre-game ceremonies to honor America, were described by his critics as distractions that no NFL team can withstand. But Johnson argues against the claims that his social activism was any distraction at all.
The Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia Eagles have won championships despite reputations for heavy social justice activism, Johnson adds.
In 2016, the year of Kaepernick’s anthem protests, the Mystics wore “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts and held a “media blackout” after "the police-involved fatal shootings of unarmed African American men Philando Castile and Alton Sterling," Johnson writes.
Uh, the Mystics finished dead last in the Eastern Conference that season with a 13-21 record. They just didn't have that winning social justice wave rolling that year.
Nevertheless, Johnson overlooked that anomaly to his social-justice-wins theory. He says the Mystics relish "the platform they’ve earned and don’t care what anyone thinks about them speaking out on the issues that WNBA players and other athletes care the most about.''
"SJW point" woman Cloud says of the WNBA, “This is a league full of powerful women. Those people that say that we should just ‘shut up and dribble,’ they should just shut up and watch us.”