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Renee Montgomery’s Decision To Sit 2020 WNBA Season Should Be Rewarded With A Full Check

This kind of personal sacrifice makes WNBA's commitment to inclusivenss and social justice authentic.

WNBA player Renee Montgomery has chosen to sit out the 2020 WNBA season and focus on off-court initiatives, the organization announced Thursday.

The Atlanta Dream guard is the first WNBA player to follow the suggestion of NBA Players Coalition stars Kyrie Irving and Dwight Howard — who broached the idea of players sitting out the season in order to keep the movement going with the fight for racial equality, police reform and destroying systemic racism in America. 

The WNBA Wins 

As Kendrick Perkins and Kyrie and KD argue over the benefits of playing and not playing and hurl insults, the WNBA has an independent thinker in Montgomery who will now leave her role as a point guard to spearhead the WNBA’s commitment to social justice and act as an ambassador of sorts.

This kind of selfless dedication to improving society should be commended. If I was the WNBA I would find a way to ensure Montgomery’s financial stability because she has really represented the WNBA well with this risk. She’s the first player to put her money where her mouth is and prioritize eradicating social injustice in the world over hoops.

The WNBA can utilize her and Maya Moore —  who has put a legendary career on hold in order to devote her time to Jonathan Irons, a man she feels was falsely convicted of a crime —  to highlight the league’s authentic dedication to inclusion, diversity and social and racial equality. 

It’s a win-win for everybody. 

Montgomery, an 11-year veteran and two-time WNBA Champion, will dedicate her energies to expanding and strengthening the Renee Montgomery Foundation and focusing on social justice reform. 

Montgomery has been instrumental in raising money to help protesters and support the Black Lives Matter movement. The recent police murders and the massive protests that followed, as well as the new racial unity that was birthed from the tragic murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks just –to name some of more recent atrocities — has inspired Montgomery to heed Kyrie’s advice and keep the momentum going. 

She will also take on speaking engagements to help educate and rally the Atlanta community and beyond. The Atlanta community is in turmoil as protests and suffering continue. The recent killing of Brooks has only added fuel to the fire and heightened the call for an end to police brutality and racial and social injustice towards Black people. The police are pushing back as well, as about 80 % (According to CNN) of the Atlanta PD called out sick on Wednesday evening in protest of the murder charges filed against Brooks’ killer. 

Montgomery has decided to remain on the front lines and in doing so prioritize world healing over basketball. 

During the offseason, Montgomery served as the color analyst for the College Park Skyhawks and as an analyst on FOX Sports South during Hawks LIVE. She at the peak of her celebrity, which makes this controversial power move even more respectable. 

WNBA Loses A Star, Gains A Face of Social Justice 

“While I am saddened Renee will not be in a Dream uniform this summer, I am incredibly proud of her passion for her foundation, her outreach in the community and her chance to impact the Black Lives Matter movement with her platform as a WNBA athlete,” Head Coach Nicki Collen said. “As a coach in this league I understand that I can’t just say we are “bigger than ball” but rather I must embody it.”

“We are disappointed Renee will not be contributing on the court this season, but her assistance to the community is extremely significant and will help bring attention to important causes,” Dream President & General Manager Chris Sienko said. “We fully support Renee’s off-the-court efforts and know that she can help facilitate change in Atlanta and around the globe.”

The Dream won an Eastern Conference-worst 8 games in 2019, so they need Montgomery who has played and started all 68 games in her two seasons with the Dream, averaging 9.9 points and 3.2 assists in 27.7 minutes per game. She’s also a marksman who set a franchise record in 2018 with 78 treys. 

The WNBA is slated to start its COVID-shortened 22-game schedule at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. beginning in late July. All 12 teams will report in early July to begin training camp.

Montogomery won’t be there because she’s just put an entire movement on her back with a business card that reads: “Renee Montogomery, WNBA Champion/Social Activist”

It’s her full-time job.

“No Justice. No peace.”

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