Renee Montgomery: You Can’t Fault Athletes For Wanting Change

This is a “special time” in America, Montgomery says, and athletes like Avery Bradley are dedicated to social progress 

JRSportBrief
June 18, 2020 - 9:15 am
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The NBA intends to resume the 2019-20 season in Orlando in July, but several players, including Avery Bradley and Kyrie Irving, have doubts about the restart plan. Bradley, in particular, wants the NBA to create a plan to improve causes in the black community prior to the restart.

How should fans feel about NBA players potentially sitting out or boycotting the bubble?

“I think it’s valid,” WNBA player Renee Montgomery told JR SportBrief. “I think you have to take into account the human aspect of any of this. [For] sports fans, that’s very difficult. They see us as the athlete. They see us as a sports person. But just some of the stuff that Avery Bradley was saying, if you listen to what the people are actually saying, there’s a social [movement] going on right now, so how can you fault a player for wanting to be connected to that movement? Everybody – old, young – knows that this is a special time in America.

“So I think that it’s there,” Montgomery continued. “I think if anybody has any apprehension about going into the bubble for COVID reasons, for social justice reasons, I don’t know how you can fault an athlete like that. We’ve all seen the stuff, but I think it’s a false narrative almost. [Somebody] proposed a question: ‘Would you go as fans?’ A lot of people said no. So you kind of have to be fair. Athletes are human.”

Montgomery, 33, starred at UConn and was the fourth overall pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft. She won two WNBA titles with the Minnesota Lynx and has played for the Atlanta Dream since 2018.

Montgomery said she is “optimistic” about social and racial progress.

“You got to just look at the growth point,” she said. “The growth point is if people want to do better, you have to let them. I think a lot of times people are getting caught up in, ‘Well, they didn’t think that way before.’ That’s okay. We all had an awakening. When George Floyd was murdered, we all had this awakening that, ‘All right, no more. We got to do better.’ So if people want to do better, you can’t just be set in your ways and say, ‘Nope, you did wrong. You’re never forgiven.’ I’m hoping that these teams, these leagues, they mean it and they start to [make an effort]. That’s what the NBA players like Avery Bradley and Kyrie have been saying: show it.”