Mistreating Black Woman Athletes Has A Long History

basketball game
Via Flickr
Adé Hennis
May 6, 2024

In the 2024 NCAA Tournament post-game interview, Angel Reese was verbally attacked and hypersexualized. When Dawn Staley’s team won the championship title, news headlines focused on a white player instead. What does society have against  Black women athletes?

Here’s what we mean.

#1: 2007 Rutgers Women’s Basketball vs. Don Imus

 Don Imus was a popular radio host in 2007 when he called the Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy headed hos.” We rallied to get him off the air.

#2: Cynthia Cooper & Coaching

 When Cynthia Cooper finished her illustrious basketball career, she should have easily gotten coaching offers. However, she was shut out from being a coach. Finally, in 2005 an HBCU gave her an opportunity.

#3: Cheryl Miller Before Title IX

 USC star Cheryl Miller said that before Title IX in 1972, which helped protect women against gender discrimination, she had to “suffer in silence.” Women basketball players got fewer opportunities. Miller helped shine a spotlight on women’s basketball.

It’s essential to continue supporting Black girls and women in sports and to demand that they receive the recognition, opportunities and resources they deserve. But more than that, it’s vital for us to work to create spaces where Black women -athletic or not- find support and respect.