This series will cover the WNBA’s 21st season with at least one story on the league weekly from the season’s May 13 opening to its closing on September 3 and through the 2017 playoffs.
SEATTLE — Women’s rights are the civil rights of today, declared WNBA President Lisa Borders. All well and good, but her responses to questions on a couple of specific issues of race and gender in the league left much to be desired in the view of this reporter.
We asked Madame President during her press conference before last Saturday’s All-Star contest in Key Arena to respond to two recent ESPN.com pieces. In one, the author sounded the league’s death knell after the over-coverage of this summer’s NBA Summer League. In the other, Mechelle Voepel’s multi-part interview with Seattle’s Sue Bird, the player complained that the league is still dealing with racism (too many Black women) and homophobia (too many non-straight players in the league).
Borders responded to the first: “We are the middle child in the NBA family. Big brother is 71. Little brother the [the NBA G-League] is 16. We are 21.
“We like talking about basketball and having it available 24 by 7 by 365. Highlighting the Summer League, highlighting the W, we’re not fighting for space. It’s all about basketball, and this is the game we all love, so we think it’s helpful when everybody is focused on basketball,” Borders said.
If you feel that Borders danced around the question’s first part, check her response to the second part: “I support Sue in her comments and in her statements and in her rationale, all of it,” pledged Borders. “I want our players embraced for who they are, period, without the judgment.
“This league is comprised of people, women in particular. We should be able to choose who we love, what we do with our bodies, how we feel about public safety, how we feel about education. We shouldn’t have to defend ourselves and our right to speak up and have perspective on anything we want to talk about,” said the W president.
“Women are 52 percent of the population in this country,” she continued, “more than half of every community. We’re not yet half of the people in Congress or half of the governors in this country or half of the CEOs, but trust me, my friend, it’s coming.
“Women are today, I think, in a better position to make the statements they want to make than they ever have been before, and I think players like Sue Bird leading the march and saying feel free to talk about whatever you want to talk about, professionally or personally, sets a shining example and inspiration to little girls and little boys everywhere.”
Did you get it? Borders left me like a Main Ingredient song — spinning around. If you are keeping score, she’s zero-for-two in providing a direct answer to a direct question and has earned a perfect “10” in dancing and avoidance.
Back to work
After last weekend’s All-Star festivities in Seattle, everyone is back to work. Minnesota at press time was hosting New York Tuesday night in St. Paul.
“The real work starts again,” said forward Rebekkah Brunson, one of four Lynx All-Stars, after the West’s victory last Saturday. “Now we will continue what we need to do on what we started out [to do] from the beginning” of the season, she pointed out.
Teammate Sylvia Fowles added that the All-Star time was great, especially hanging with Brunson, Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus, but she quickly declared, “We’re ready to get back with our team.”
Yes, she said it…
“You need consistency from 10 players if you are going to beat a Lynx team,” said Phoenix Coach Sandy Brondello after losing two games to Minnesota in three days.
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.