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As the effects of the overthrow of Roe v. Wade wave across the nation, remarkable professional athletes and teams speak out, while many remain silent.
There is an intersection between social justice and sport, not because people are changing, but because platforms are.
In 1969, Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists for Black power. The iconic moment set a precedent at the Olympics – no political demonstrations are currently banned – and it changed the lives of these two athletes forever.
“From that moment on, the two athletes would be scolded, threatened and in some circles celebrated,” wrote The History Channels’ Nadra Kareem Nittle in how this moment changed sports history.
A few years away from Colin Kaepernick’s similar protest in the NFL, athletes and organizations use social media platforms to demonstrate their values. Athletes have recently spoken out against gun violence in America, the increased violence against black and Asian American societies, laws targeting trans and queer youth, and a wide range of intertwined facets of American society harming its citizens.
On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, removing a 49-year protection for anyone in America who would become pregnant. Immediately, millions became vulnerable as they face a future where they could be prosecuted for murder for a miscarriage.
While many professional athletes and organizations in the field of women’s sports quickly spoke out against the lack of legal protection for their athletes, many professional men’s sports teams were particularly silent. For example, the Cleveland Cavaliers have tweeted about theirs latest ejectorshas St. Louis Cardinals tweeted damage updatesand the New York Jets shared snapshots from Tight End U. So far, none of these professional men’s sports teams, apart from many others, have said anything about a decision that affects over half of the American population and a significant portion of sports fans.
That being said, there were athletes and teams in men’s professional sports who spoke in solidarity with those affected by the overthrow of Roe v. Wade. These individuals and teams said something at a time when men’s sports remain largely silent on the issue, but as NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman said, “reproductive rights are human rights.”
Here are the professional athletes in men’s sports who speak against Roe v. Vade decision
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers forward
Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets point guard
Yes Morant, Memphis Grizzlies point guard
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals quarterback
Josh Hart, Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard
Juan Thornhill, Kansas City Chiefs Security
Damien Harris, New England Patriots halfback
Jakob Johnson, Las Vegas Raiders back
Johnny Stanton, Cleveland Browns back
Mark Canha, New York Met’s first baseman / outfielder
Jerry Blevins, from Oakland A’s / Washington Nationals / New York Mets / Atlanta Braves pitcher
Robert Griffin III, coach of the NFL quarterback
Jeff Allen, coach of the Kansas City Chiefs / Houston Texans guard
Kyle Long, coach of the Chicago Bears / Kansas City Chiefs guard
Tea NBA and WNBA issued a statement through Commissioners Adam Silver and WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.
Athletes like Seattle Seahawks safety When is Diggs forwarded tweets criticizing the Supreme Court ruling.
Here are the professional athletes in women’s sports who speak against Roe v. Vade decision
Megan Rapinoe, Olympic Reign and NWST winger
Lindsay Horan, Olympique Lyonnais Féminin striker / midfielder (loan from Portland Thorns FC)
Sue Bird, Seattle Storm point guard
Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm power forward
Brianna Turner, Phoenix Mercury power forward
Stefanie Dolson, New York Liberty Center
Nikki Stanton, Olympic Reign midfielder
Madison Packer, Metropolitan Riveters forward
Gabby Williams, Seattle Storm power forward
Muffet McGraw, former Notre Dame women’s basketball coach and professional athlete
Kaiya McCollough, from Washington Spirit Defender
Here are the professional women’s sports teams speaking out against Roe v. Vade decision
WNFC (Women’s National Football Conference)
Angel City FC
NJ / NY Gotham FC
Portland Thorns FC
San Diego Wave FC
Racing Louisville FC
Here are the professional men’s sports teams speaking out against Roe v. Vade decision
Premier Lacrosse League
Oakland Roots SC
San Diego Loyalty
While women in sports collectively reflect on how this law addresses the reproductive rights of those who may become pregnant, there are men in sports who show solidarity with them. Unfortunately, there are not enough of them.