Atlanta Dream guard Renee Montgomery will sit out of the 2020 WNBA season to focus on social justice reform. She joins Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx, via separate initiatives, in working toward ending systemic racism in the United States. Protests against police brutality and systemic racism have been held all over the world after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.
The 2020 WNBA season will begin in late July with games contested without any fans in attendance at a single site in Florida. However, Montgomery, 33, said she will give the tournament a pass and instead focus on fuelling the Black Lives Matter movement.
Imani McGee-Stafford of the Dallas Wings announced prior to the 2020 season that she will sit the next two seasons to attend law school with goals of eventually embarking on policy work on behalf of abuse victims. Montgomery, an 11-year veteran, hopes to foster change in the Atlanta area.
“If I go into the WNBA season, I know I won’t be able to give 100 per cent, and that’s not fair to my coaches and team-mates,” the two-time WNBA champion wrote in the Players’ Tribune.
“I know that if I did go into the ‘bubble’ who knows what it’s going to look like in four months, as far as the movement is concerned? I just want to make sure that I am fuelling the movement.
“As I am writing this, I’m like, ‘did I really just opt out of the season?’ I am as shocked as everyone else.”
Montgomery, who started a foundation last year to help impact the lives of people through sport, said she hopes to return to basketball once she has made a positive change in the community.
“My heart is telling me that I have a different mission right now that I have to see through,” she added.
Dream coach Nicki Collen said she supported Montgomery’s decision.
“While I am saddened Renee will not be in a Dream uniform this summer, I am proud of her passion for her foundation and her chance to impact the BLM movement with her platform as a WNBA athlete,” Collen told ESPN.