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COMMUNITY

Twitter Erupts Over Sue Bird’s WNBA and NWSL Comparison

WNBA legend Sue Bird dominated Twitter following comments comparing the public’s perception of professional women’s soccer and basketball.

WNBA legend Sue Bird dominated Twitter following comments comparing the public’s perception of professional women’s soccer and basketball. 

On October 17, Bird told CNN’s Don Riddell “women’s soccer players generally are cute little white girls while WNBA players, we are all shapes and sizes … a lot of Black, gay, tall women … there is maybe an intimidation factor and people are quick to judge it and put it down.”

Megan Rapinoe, USWNT and NWSL star, echoed these sentiments in a piece for the Players’ Tribune. In “I’ve Got Some Things to Say. Let’s Do a WNBA Finals Preview,” Rapinoe stated she, “[wasn’t] going to write an article like this without being real” about the “deep history of racism and … homophobia [in America].” The noted Seattle Storm fan and Bird’s long term girlfriend explained that while she is grateful for the success of the U.S. Women’s National Team, she often wonders where the same viewership, endorsements, and respect exist for the WNBA.

“When it comes to U.S. women’s soccer, the general perception is that — let’s face it — we’re the white girls next door. The straight, “cute,” “unthreatening,” “suburban” white girls next door,” writes Rapinoe. “Where’s [the recognition] for the women’s sports that — instead of scanning cute and white and straight — scan tall and black and queer??”

Twitter Erupts After Sue Bird Comments

Despite top athletes from both sports agreeing, many fans and critics alike took to Twitter to debate the star point guard’s statement.

Some criticized CNN for not giving context to her quote.

Ultimately, Sue Bird’s comments open the opportunity for a fascinating yet complicated discussion regarding the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality in sports.

In The Zone looks forward to continuing our coverage of social issues in sport. Thank you to fans who contributed the ideas featured in this article. Keep tweeting and you may see your takes on In The Zone!

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