Abortion rights

Sports World Reacts to Supreme Court Decision Overturning Roe v. Wade

From athletes like LeBron James and Kyler Murray to the NBA itself, the sports world had plenty to say on the landmark decision

Abortion protest
USA Today

The sports world is weighing in on the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the federal law that protected a woman’s right to an abortion. 

The Friday morning announcement came nearly two months after the majority opinion was leaked. While the initial leak set off shockwaves throughout the country, the official decision continues to spark controversy. 

Many male athletes were quick to join the conversation.

LeBron James amplified the opinion of activist DeRecka Purnell, echoing her statement that the decision is about “power and control.”

James wasn’t alone in his dissent.

Kevin Negandhi, host of ESPN’s SportsCenter, shared age-old wisdom from his mom in light of Friday’s decision.

Roderick Townsend, a three-time Paralympic gold medalist, was quick to point out the stark contrast of this decision to the Court's response to matters of gun control. Just yesterday, the Supreme Court delivered gun rights activists a major win by striking down a New York law that required gun owners to demonstrate a "unique need" for self-protection to carry a handgun outside the home.

Kyle Long, who spent the majority of his career with the Chicago Bears before his most recent stint in Kansas City, drew similar comparisons to the anti-vaccine movement.

Megan Rapinoe specifically called out Senator Susan Collins of Maine. 

Collins, considered a crucial swing vote in the Senate, supported Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh in part on the premise that they would not vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. In the wake of this decision in which both men contributed to the majority, Collins said their vote was “inconsistent” with the interviews and testimony they provided during the Senate confirmation hearings.

Josh Hart of the Portland Trail Blazers tweeted a simple “I’m sorry” to the “women in this country.”

Hart graduated high school from Sidwell Friends School in Bethesda, Md., a popular option for many politicians and leaders in Washington including six presidential children. 

Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray tweeted a similar message. 

This decision comes one day after the 50th anniversary of Title IX, a law that prohibits sex-based discrimination by any school or education program receiving federal funding. The landmark case shaped access to scholarships, athletic funding and more recently became an avenue to pursue allegations of sexual assault. 

Former Notre Dame head coach and Hall of Famer Muffet McGraw touched on the significance of this anniversary, before impressing upon the importance of enacting change at the ballot box. 

While the majority of the sports world that took to social media expressed dismay at the Court’s decision, there are several athletes who have come out in support of the change. 

Benjamin Watson, who spent 16 years in the NFL before retiring in 2019, has been a vocal opponent of abortion. He was active on Twitter throughout Friday, sharing the trailer of a 2020 film he produced on the issue of abortion and responding to Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock.

The responses have not been confined to individuals. As of Friday evening, the National Women’s Soccer League issued a statement, followed by a joint statement from the NBA and WNBA.

Just a day before the ruling, Billie Jean King celebrated the anniversary of Title IX and it's impact on women and sports.

Coco Gauff, the 18-year-old runner-up at the French Open earlier this month, shared some of her thoughts on the decision.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this article

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