From a content standpoint, you may have noticed Audacy, along with countless other media outlets, didn’t churn out its usual volume of sports stories Friday. Sure, there was Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals to discuss and Freddie Freeman’s much-anticipated return to Atlanta, but it all felt hollow, an afterthought amid the backdrop of one of the most devastating Supreme Court decisions in recent memory. Though we all knew it was coming thanks to a leaked draft that surfaced weeks ago, it didn’t make Friday’s ruling, officially overturning Roe v. Wade, any easier to swallow.
It’s hard not to see the hypocrisy in the Supreme Court handing down its decision, eliminating, after 49 years of government protection, a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion, a day after celebrating the 50th anniversary of Title IX, granting women equal rights after decades of gender discrimination in schools. That bitter irony wasn’t lost on Malika Andrews, who made history Thursday night as the first woman to host the NBA Draft. Already among the most visible female voices in sports, the 27-year-old used her ESPN platform to address Friday’s stunning reversal, holding back tears as she read off tweets from Sue Bird, Barack Obama, Josh Hart, the WNBA Players Association and others expressing their frustration, utterly despondent over a catastrophic setback in gender equality.
“Yesterday the sports world celebrated the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which banned discrimination based on gender in education including sports. But today, the Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade, declaring that the constitution right to abortion, upheld for nearly a half century no longer exists,” said Andrews on NBA Today. “In less than 24 hours, we celebrated equal rights for women and now we react to women’s reproductive rights being taken away.”
Athletes—Damien Harris, Kyle Long and Megan Rapinoe among them—weren’t shy in voicing their outrage, lamenting a broken system intent on destroying all the progress women have fought so hard for over the past century. With democracy under attack (Clarence Thomas now wants the Supreme Court to revisit its stance on same-sex marriage), a reeling country grows more divided by the day, with each new heartbreak bringing America closer to its breaking point. A declining empire finds itself at a crossroads, teetering between two identities, right and left, with America’s reckoning happening before our eyes. With so much tragedy and chaos to unpack, from killing sprees in Uvalde and Buffalo to the crushing disappointment of Friday’s Roe v. Wade ruling, it’s become impossible to stick to sports, with silence interpreted as tacit approval.
While the NBA, WNBA and NWSL made their voices heard, determined to be on the right side of history, others, including the LPGA, refused to take a stand, complicit in a shameful betrayal of women’s rights.
To have this happen on the same week the House Select Committee revealed its findings on the January 6th insurrection that threatened a peaceful transition of power shows just how lost we are as a nation, a laughingstock hurdling toward rock bottom. There are things that can still unite us, but before America can truly heal, we have to acknowledge how far we’ve fallen, warped beyond all recognition by a compromised political climate that rewards greed, excess and, above all, power, at the expense of the people it represents.