WNBA guard Renee Montgomery to sit out season to focus on social justice issues

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Renee Montgomery is skipping the WNBA’s 22-game bubble to focus on social justice, the Atlanta Dream guard announced Thursday morning.

“There’s work to be done off the court in so many areas in our community,” Montgomery tweeted. “Social justice reform isn’t going to happen overnight but I do feel that now is the time and Moments equal Momentum.”

Montgomery, a 11-year veteran who averaged 9.5 points per game last year, is giving up serious money. She was scheduled to make $109,000 this year, according to Spotrac.

In statements, Atlanta’s coach and GM both said they supported Montgomery’s decision.

“While I am saddened Renee will not be in a Dream uniform this summer, I am incredibly proud of her passion for her foundation, her outreach in the community, and her chance to impact the Black Lives Matter movement with her platform as a WNBA athlete,” coach Nicki Collen said.

Montgomery has been handing out water at protests in Atlanta. Before her decision was announced, Collen said that Montgomery “wanted to do something bigger.”

Montgomery was Atlanta’s starting point guard last year. The 33-year-old has been a league mainstay since 2009, when she was the No. 4 overall pick in the draft.

When Kyrie Irving began pushing NBA players to sit out their bubble later this summer, Yahoo reported that WNBA players were on the call and “vowed to stand in unity” with their counterparts. The WNBA’s players have been ahead of the league on social justice issues, dating back to 2016 when players on several teams were fined for wearing I CAN’T BREATHE shirts after Eric Garner’s killing by the NYPD.

WNBA players were given the option to skip the bubble, tentatively scheduled for late July, for any reason, health or personal. Montgomery is the first to do so for this year. Former league MVP Maya Moore has put her career on hold since 2018; she skipped the 2019 season to focus on her ministry and was already planning to skip the 2020 season to focus on criminal justice reform.


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