There's been a push for professional sports to stand up for women for a long time, whether the issue is domestic violence, sexual assault, or reproductive rights. So it's unsurprising (if a little depressing) that it took a women's basketball team to produce the first ever professional sports team partnership with Planned Parenthood. A WNBA team, the Seattle Storm, announced this month that they will be hosting a Planned Parenthood Night for the Storm on July 18, which will include a "Stand With Planned Parenthood” rally in KeyArena’s West Plaza.
This is a BFD.
Dawn Trudeau, a co-owner of the team, told the New York Times that she felt frustrated by her inability to “make a meaningful impact on the national health care debate," which led to conversations between her and her business partners about partnering with PP.
Planned Parenthood told the NYT that “This marks the first partnership we’ve ever had with a sports franchise... This event and their support will help raise awareness among their fans and sports fans broadly.”
To understand what the environment can be like in professional sports, contrast this move with the Kansas City Royals baseball team, which The Nation points out has a huge billboard in their stadium and ads on their radio broadcasts promoting the anti-abortion organization Vitae. Their radio station has also declined an ad attempting to counter the myths about crisis pregnancy centers.
It makes sense that the WNBA would produce the first pro sports franchise to have a partnership with a reproductive health organization. The athletes have been outspoken when it comes to issues they care about, with WNBA players being some of the loudest voices when it came to national anthem protests and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. The Storm also marched in the Seattle Pride parade and, this past weekend, WNBA team the New York Liberty became the first professional sports team to ever participate in NYC Pride.
The team will donate $5 from every ticket sold for July 18's game to Planned Parenthood, literally putting their money where their mouths are. And that's pretty darn cool. Here's hoping more teams follow suit.
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