Following the death of Breonna Taylor, many WNBA players are making a huge statement this 2020 season, they want justice. The police officers who killed Breonna Taylor were not arrested, and members from the Seattle Storm and New York Liberty teams made it clear they are standing for her.
On Saturday both teams walked off the court as the national anthem was played before their game in Florida; many of them wearing shirts reading ‘Say Her Name’ in honor of Breonna Taylor. Players including Natasha Cloud, Renee Montgomery, Maya Moore and more are choosing to sit out for the season.
Unless given medical exemption due to high risky of catching COVID-19, players are not getting paid for sitting out. And that is where Kyrie Irving comes in.
Irving announced his launch for Kai Empowerment Initiative which is designed to provide financial support for individual players in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) who are active but will not play in the 2020 WNBA season due to personal, professional, health, and/or safety-related reasons. The KAI Empowerment Initiative is fully funded by Kyrie Irving who has committed $1.5 million to these efforts. In addition, the program will give all WNBA players access to a comprehensive financial literacy program provided by UBS.
“Whether a person decided to fight for social justice, play basketball, focus on physical or mental health, or simply connect with their families, this initiative can hopefully support their priorities and decisions,” Irving said in a statement.
To be eligible, players must complete an application that gives more insight into their circumstances and why they have decided not to play for the season.