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Which professional athletes and organizations are supporting those affected by Roe v. Wade decision?

As the effects of the overturning of Roe v. Wade ripple throughout the nation, notable professional athletes and teams speak out while many remain silent. 

There’s an intersection between social justice and sports not because people are changing, but because platforms are.

In 1969, Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in the air for Black power. That iconic moment set a precedent at the Olympics — no political demonstrations are currently banned — and it changed the lives of these two athletes forever.

“From that moment, the two athletes would be vilified, threatened and, in some circles, celebrated,” wrote The History Channel’s Nadra Kareem Nittle in how this moment changed sports history.

A few years removed from Colin Kaepernick’s similar protest in the NFL, athletes and organizations use social media platforms to demonstrate their values. Athletes have recently spoken out against gun violence in America, the increased violence against Black and Asian American communities, laws targeting trans and queer youth, and a multitude of intertwined facets of American society that harm its citizens.

On June 24, 2022, the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, removing a 49-year protection for anyone in America who would become pregnant. Immediately, millions became vulnerable as they face a future where they could be prosecuted for murder for a miscarriage.

While many professional athletes and organizations in women’s sports quickly spoke out against the lacking legal protections for their athletes, many men’s professional sports teams were notably silent. For example, the Cleveland Cavaliers have tweeted about their newest draftees, the St. Louis Cardinals have tweeted injury updates, and the New York Jets shared snapshots from Tight End U. As of yet, none of these professional men’s sports teams, in addition to many others, have said anything about a decision that affects over half of the U.S. population and a considerable portion of sports fans.

That being said, there were athletes and teams in men’s professional sports who spoke in solidarity with those who are affected by the overturning of Roe v. Wade. These individuals and teams said something at a time when men’s sports remain largely silent on the issue, but as NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman said, “reproductive rights are human rights.”

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – MARCH 27: LeBron James  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Here are the professional athletes in men’s sports speaking out against Roe v. Wade decision

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers forward

Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets point guard

Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies point guard

Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals quarterback

Josh Hart, Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard

Juan Thornhill, Kansas City Chiefs safety

Damien Harris, New England Patriots halfback 

Jakob Johnson, Las Vegas Raiders fullback 

Johnny Stanton, Cleveland Browns fullback

Mark Canha, New York Mets first baseman/outfielder

Jerry Blevins, former Oakland A’s/Washington Nationals/New York Mets/Atlanta Braves pitcher

Robert Griffin III, former NFL quarterback 

Jeff Allen, former Kansas City Chiefs/Houston Texans guard

Kyle Long, former Chicago Bears/Kansas City Chiefs guard

The NBA and WNBA issued a statement via commissioners Adam Silver and WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.

Athletes like Seattle Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs reshared tweets that criticized the Supreme Court decision.

Megan Rapinoe  (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Here are the professional athletes in women’s sports speaking out against Roe v. Wade decision

Megan Rapinoe, OL Reign and NWST winger

Lindsay Horan, Olympique Lyonnais Féminin forward/midfielder (loan from Portland Thorns FC)

Sue Bird, Seattle Storm point guard

Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm power forward

Brianna Turner, Phoenix Mercury power forward

Stefanie Dolson, New York Liberty center

Nikki Stanton, OL Reign midfielder

Madison Packer, Metropolitan Riveters forward 

Gabby Williams, Seattle Storm power forward

Muffet McGraw, former Notre Dame women’s basketball coach and professional athlete

Kaiya McCollough, former Washington Spirit Defender 

Athletes like Las Vegas Aces small forward A’ja Wilson and Phoenix Mercury point guard Skylar Diggins-Smith reshared tweets that criticized the Supreme Court decision.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – MAY 20: Sue Bird #10 of the Seattle Storm gathers with her teammates after beating Los Angeles Sparks 83-80 at Climate Pledge Arena on May 20, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Here are the professional women’s sports teams speaking out against Roe v. Wade decision

NWSL 

WNBPA

WNFC (Women’s National Football Conference)

Seattle Storm

OL Reign

Angel City FC

Washington Spirit

NJ/NY Gotham FC 

Portland Thorns FC

San Diego Wave FC

Racing Louisville FC

Here are the professional men’s sports teams speaking out against Roe v. Wade decision

Premier Lacrosse League 

Oakland Roots SC

San Diego Loyal

While women in sports are collectively reflecting on how this law targeting the reproductive rights of those who can become pregnant, there are men in sports who stand in solidarity with them. Sadly, there aren’t enough of them.

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