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Volume 26 No. 225
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WNBA To Hit The Court After "Big Sacrifice" From Players, Coaches

The WNBA begins its season on Saturday at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and league Commissioner Cathy Engelbert on Friday acknowledged it has taken a "Herculean effort and a big sacrifice by the players and the coaches and everyone to come to one single neutral site and follow the protocols" to conduct the campaign. Engelbert during an appearance on CNBC admitted that creating the bubble was ”expensive, but we’re fortunate because we have a smaller scale league.” She said the league has been fortunate in keeping the players and staff safe because “we know this virus is complicated and unpredictable.” Engelbert: “So far so good, but I don't want to jinx it.” Meanwhile, CNBC’s Joe Kernen pointed out a potential silver lining for the league, as half of the WNBA's games will be televised. Kernen: “I'm not saying that it's good that this happened, but this could actually continue the great momentum that you had with the WNBA, could actually bring it to a new level.” Engelbert, while stressing the health of all involved was paramount, said, “That's exactly right. Part of this was to get more exposure for these elite women athletes and to move what I call the numerator up of the coverage of women’s sports, because it’s less than 5% of all sports that gets covered” (“Squawk Box,CNBC, 7/24). 

BLM WILL BE PROMINENT: In Phoenix, Jeff Metcalfe noted the WNBA is "opening with a weekend centered around the Black Lives Matter movement" as part of a season dedicated to social justice. Teams will wear uniforms honoring "victims of police brutality and racial violence." Players also "will wear warm-up shirts with Black Lives Matter on the front and Say Her Name on the back." The WNBA and the WNBPA have "created a social justice council to promote a new platform called the Justice Movement" with a mission to "lead player advocacy regarding race, voting rights, LGBTQ+ and gun control among other issues" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 7/22).