WNBA star Gabby Williams came out in defense of NBA star Kyrie Irving on Tuesday after the Brooklyn Nets star reportedly brought up the idea about
WNBA star Gabby Williams came out in defense of NBA star Kyrie Irving on Tuesday after the Brooklyn Nets star reportedly brought up the idea about sitting out the season for social justice.
Irving reportedly told players he was willing to “give up everything” in the name of social justice, sparking fan backlash as the NBA has been on hold for more than three months.
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Williams, who plays for the Chicago Sky, told The Undefeated that criticism of Irving showed how “selfish” fans can be and hoped WNBA fans wouldn’t show the same resentment.
“Sometimes fans, fans are too much. They’re too selfish. They’re too critical, they’re too selfish and they don’t treat these athletes like they’re people,” she said. “It’s so sad to see the backlash that Kyrie got from that. Just because you’re selfish because you don’t have something to tune in to at 7 p.m. — you’re going to talk about this Black man this way? That really hurt me. I hope WNBA fans never treat us like that because I was so sad to see it. I was like, ‘These people in this world are disgusting.’ Like think about how selfish you have to be.”
Williams said fans don’t understand that players aren’t “going on vacation” when they return to the so-called bubble to get their seasons either started or restarted.
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“We’re sacrificing a lot to be in this bubble. It’s going to be hard physically and on our mental health. For fans to sit there and have any kind of opinion about if a player wants to play or not — you’re not fans. You’re not a real fan. And what they’re standing up for is so, so important,” she said.
She added that she was “disappointed” to see how other NBA players were responding to Irving as well, calling them “selfish.”
“You can play if you want to play, if you feel comfortable playing,” Williams told The Undefeated. “But under these circumstances, I don’t see how you can judge somebody for not wanting to play. Any WNBA player who sits out for this season, I have no opinion about it. I completely understand if someone would want to sit out this season — whether it be to make a difference or for their health and safety. There are so many unknowns. The fact that NBA players didn’t have each other’s backs, either, it was really sad to see.”
Several WNBA players have already opted out of the season. Washington Mystics star Natasha Cloud and Atlanta Dream’s Renee Montgomery have decided not to play.
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The WNBA season is expected to start next month at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.