WNBA Commissioner: Using season as a ‘call to action’

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert and player Layshia Clarendon discuss new social justice initiatives as the league returns to play amid a surge of new coronavirus cases in Florida.
7:10 | 07/08/20

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Transcript for WNBA Commissioner: Using season as a ‘call to action’
One of the sports league set to make their return later this month is the WNBA. This week players have started to arrive at the IMG academy in Bradenton Florida where the legal. Hosts its 22 game season and playoffs for the league's twelve teams joining us now is WNBA commissioner Kathy angle Berke. And WNBA players lay show Clarendon of the New York Liberty whose serves also as first vice president of the WNBA is players' association. Thank you so much for joining us. Trinity here. So traditional ethics and a commissioner Engel bird I'd like to start we knew as far as the plans at the league announced this week to dedicate the 20/20 season. To the social justice movement through a new platform for players explain. What the league will be doing and also a kind of actions of fans will see as they watch the WNBA season. Yeah I think one thing happened Jordan press amen I'm bit unnatural it's commissioner for a little less than a year in health socially conscious mean minded WNBA players already. Our that this is really an amplification of their leadership that they birdie shown in a likely Asia and the rest that that should check it idiots really stepped up. Up here. And we did WNBA truly or what the player stand or. How they want to you'd be achieved and that the action change. And all things around at. A council. All you know again we have enough he first time effort all the ambient air together you're our man actually because it or pandemic. But using that it cannot you know loans. Escalation has several of your fellow players have decided to sit this season out as you're well aware and instead focus full time on social justice so perhaps you make sure that the platform you have during the season contributes in a meaningful way. To the social justice movement. That's capping mention you know we have strength and number 840 our players editor we never. Be at or really dire circumstances given up. All health crisis but we have an opportunity. Com with being wanted to personnel live sports still coming back and just really am I can use this huge platform that we happen people are looking for leadership in Indian. Our you know action steps at a an ending that's back we are governors work. That we you know we point so I'd better accidents there really obvious I think the answer about. Commissioner he received a letter today from Georgia senator Kelly lawful or who's of co owner of the Atlanta dream WNBA franchise as she posed to Italy embracing black lives matter saying that the movement is quote. Totally miss align with the values and goals of the WNBA. And also for supporting to funding the police among other criticism she goes on to write. In a time when polarizing politics is as divisive as ever sports has the power to be a unifying antidote. And now more than ever we should be united in our goal to remove politics from sports this is not a political movement that believes should be embracing. And I emphatically oppose it what's your response to senator and law clerk. And also to her call for players to instead have American flags on the uniforms is that it all seemed to contradict her call to remove politics from sports. Well first our player can worked really hard on what they want to get social justice. Harm to feature the 20/20 sheet and then we interleague representing diverse elite female athletes. Under percent deport those damn trumped up from that respective Kelly Jeter not consistent. With go to W and the and it's players and when I first to natural. You know I promised the players we were gonna take a very player first perspective and that's what we record that we're diverse we need to support the players on the social justice. Oh. And again I'm out of our players that they have stepped up here which in great ideas and we'll be working with them church objection to advocate and activist and and you know Ted potentially amplify. What the players might get done during the you don't. And late show earlier today you tweeted I can't believe I ever step foot in Kelly's house and share the military it's actually really hurtful to see her true colors I had no idea while and played for eight yell she felt this way happy to all of us as long as we stay quiet and perform. Sounds like you feel that senator loss letters saying is basically tantamount to that now infamous statement shut up and dribble. Yeah I've totally is and yet she is great aware around the area and you know a lot of people are great let's black people when there every now and in a different way and that's sell off its sports or music and satellite steer OK with black people is long and bank out of standard slaves or their support started well now that word in our power back asking for better policing in any art mar resource board and I think it is. All you know is really sad to see you like an angry and I cannot really hurt us particularly sorry alone entity that is Lal is cutting cuts and I spent a little bit deep herb. Comment percent for her to be so divisive adding it's really up and had a lot. On the rare comments Lang and sports you know my existence as political export its clinical onsite I think it lets you asked and I as well bay and. And so you feel like there is this this disconnect in what she's asking for a additionally win that but as far as her saying that black lives mattered to appear on the cords are on the Jersey the uniforms is inappropriate. What was your response to that. I'm I am Rihanna Taylor my response is a solo. Far removed from modestly stands Lauren that the same way you know NBA dot org or. Are other issues she is an amazing I'll I'll want an opinion itself. To see her murdered at her home like bad is that happens it out. Are we and it sexton. You know a strong doubt we're citing her basic human rights were literally fighting for. This series I don't Al. I'd be more important arm axle. Com or appropriate honestly do it happens once or is returning the medal IBI. Justice revolution. And glacial lastly as a player is playing this isn't worth the potential risk given. The surge in cases. It's deadly it's sort of a lot of players are now is that first question we asked saint Ignatius changing daily and still and wait. Sorely need and went to negotiate with the league about what does look like twists you wanna play we ask the players we ask every single player across the league and we heard her and asked Torre wanted to play. I'm you know we love this game its primary lightly we think there's a great opera and it also justice right now. And then secondly we wouldn't move already put into a brawl at the medical part of also a libel and are now eats in all the medical professionals out and a good job happy and -- Amin our reading your thoughts themselves there's SA or risk involved in everybody existing and a world right now it's playing sports in Britain is there's going to be a job as each and it like sent her. Well. I'm excited. All right OK many people are excited to watch it again and commissioner Angela Byrd in relation Clarendon of the New York Liberty. Thank you both for so much for joining us we really appreciate your time. Sanctuary and Asian outreach you also.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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