The WNBA is gearing up to hold its entire 2020 season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
But as the coronavirus pandemic continues and many athletes were thrust into advocacy during the break, several athletes have chosen to sit out for the season.
The health risks for some athletes - and the risk of bringing the virus back home to their families - are not worth it for some. With all the protests and social unrest in the country following the killing of George Floyd, many WNBA stars believe that the best place for them is in their local communities. For them, the time is now to focus on tangible change within society's constructs and addressing other issues of race. Playing basketball would take them away from that.
Unlike many other leagues, the WNBA and the players negotiated that the players will earn 100% of their contracted salaries for the season, despite the lost time.
As a part of the league's and player's agreement on a new season, all players who are considered 'at-risk' for the virus and chose to not participate will receive full pay. Other athletes who are not 'at-risk' can still opt-out with no penalty but will not receive their salary throughout the season.
Here are the players who announced they are not playing in the condensed 22-game WNBA season. All players have reportedly until June 25 to decide if they will play. That deadline has been extended according to multiple reports.
-Jonquel Jones, C (health)
LAS VEGAS ACES
-Liz Cambage, C (health)
LOS ANGELES SPARKS
-Maya Moore, G (advocacy)* announced in January
-Cecilia Zandalasini, F (personal reasons)
NEW YORK LIBERTY
-Jessica Breland, F (health)
-Head coach Dan Hughes (health - high risk)
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