Natasha Cloud of the Washington Mystics helped lead the “Together We Stand” peaceful protest march to commemorate Juneteenth on June 19, 2020 in Washington, D.C. | Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images
“By choosing to run political ads, specifically those by the most divisive president in U.S. history, you have thrown all of the Swish Appeal contributors into moral conflict,” Swish Appeal editor-in-chief Tamryn Spruill wrote in an open letter to the media giant on behalf of her staff.
Dear Vox Media:
On behalf of the entire Swish Appeal staff, I write to inform you that we vehemently reject your choice to include advertisements for Donald J. Trump’s reelection campaign in banners over our work on SwishAppeal.com. We are aware that advertising dollars are down due to the coronavirus pandemic and the stoppage of sports, but Trump ads run in direct contradiction to our coverage of women’s basketball and we do not wish for our names and words to be associated with a figure who has committed his presidency to:
- stoking the embers of racism that have smoldered beneath the nation’s fabric for 400 years;
- bragging about sexually abusing women (“I just grab ‘em by the p*ssy”);
- demeaning Black male athletes who have criticized his racist rhetoric and policies, including NBA stars Stephen Curry and LeBron James;
- labeling Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players who used their constitutional right to protest peacefully “sons of bitches” for doing so;
- attempting in the last week to malign NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, accusing him of perpetrating a “hoax,” after a noose was found by others in his garage and the incident reported to authorities by others;
- denigrating African-American protesters as “thugs” in a “mob,” while championing neo-Nazi protestors as “very fine people (on both sides);”
- professing support for the confederate flag and monuments to confederate soldiers and other figures of the past who wanted to keep Black people enslaved;
- refusing to invite championship-winning women’s basketball teams to the White House, including 2017 NCAAW champion South Carolina Gamecocks, 2017 WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx, 2018 WNBA champion Seattle Storm, 2018 NCAAW champion Notre Dame Fighting Irish and 2019 WNBA champion Washington Mystics — Kim Mulkey and her Baylor Lady Bears were the lone team to receive the invitation.
The WNBA and the WNBPA jointly declared that the 2020 season will be devoted to social justice in the wake of the brutal murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minnesota. Players such as Natasha Cloud, Renee Montgomery and Maya Moore have sacrificed playing this season (Moore did in 2019 as well) to pursue causes of racial justice and criminal justice reform — the opposite of anything Trump and his administration have professed.
By choosing to run political ads, specifically those by the most divisive president in U.S. history, you have thrown all of the Swish Appeal contributors into moral conflict. We refuse to be silent about this, and we demand in the strongest terms that you immediately cease running political ads, especially those for Donald J. Trump.
On behalf of our amazing, diverse staff of women’s basketball contributors who practice integrity and individually stated,
I fully support you taking the strongest stance possible against the ads. I think any political ad would be gross, but, because of his politics, Trump ads are a direct insult to the majority of the writers and readers of Swish Appeal, as well as the athletes covered and analyzed. The ads are a blatant, disgusting money grab.
An ad for Donald Trump is an ad for racism, homophobia, sexism and white supremacy. I will NOT be associated with those things. It is an insult to me, my colleagues and the sport we work so passionately to cover. I don’t care how poorly other ads are performing; this is unacceptable and we will not stand for it, PERIOD.
I don’t want my work attached to THAT!!
The ads send a completely opposite message from our perspective which has been to challenge the culture of racist behavior (explicit or implicit) in and outside of sports.
I am not comfortable with this; you can definitely add me to the list of those opposing this.
… and who stand against racism, sexism, homophobia, inequality, injustice, hate and discrimination of any kind,
Swish Appeal, Editor-in Chief
PS for the WNBA: Your players believe Kelly Loeffler, Atlanta Dream owner and devoted Trump supporter, is wrong for the league and should be ousted.