Would you take a stand like WNBA MVP Maya Moore?
Maya Moore - Pro Athlete, WNBA MVP, and UCONN Women’s Basketball Legend has for the second consecutive season decided to forego competing in WNBA games. Moore has also declined participation in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo as a member of the USA women’s basketball team. Why? To dedicate time to a cause and a person they believe in deeply. Moore has paused her professional basketball career because of what she calls a wrongful conviction of Mr. Jonathan Irons. Irons was found guilty of a nonfatal shooting of a homeowner during a burglary in 1997. Moore has led efforts to highlight misconduct from the prosecution in the case.
At the time of the alleged crime, Irons was just 16 years of age. Now age 50 Moore has provided advocacy to reopen the case. One key detail is the fact that “no DNA evidence, fingerprints, physical evidence, or footprint evidence collected ever linked Jonathan to the crime,” (Washington Post). Further, Irons was discouraged from taking the witness stand during the trial by the public defender assigned to the case. An all-white jury would convict Irons, a black male, of the crime.
Recently on ESPN podcast “Jalen and Jacoby,” the hosts Jalen Rose and David Jacoby highlighted this under-covered story. The two highlight the greatness of Moore on the basketball court, detailing the words of fellow basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, who once remarked that Moore could compete successfully in today’s all-men’s league the NBA. Rose notes that Kobe was not just saying this for PR, but also supported that Moore is transcendent and can play in the NBA.
What’s important to note is an individual at the very height of their profession was willing to give this all up for a cause that they deeply believe in. Alongside the two co-hosts, I’d like to take the time to celebrate Moore. As Black History Month approaches and with the recent celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy, Moore embodies so much of what the movement was about. The willingness to sacrifice and give for prominent ideals and people without the same level of influence.
Take a moment to read up on Maya Moore and the “Win With Justice” social action campaign. Give this legend on and off the court the praise they deserve. Further, share in the support for Irons’ whose case has new life including an originally undisclosed fingerprint at the home of the victim in the original case files. Sign the change.org petition to add your voice to this key issue.