Sue Bird on USWNT's favorable coverage compared to WNBA: 'Soccer players generally are cute little white girls'
Sue Bird believes the WNBA and its players deserve more credit for what they achieved in 2020. Comparing the WNBA's lack of attention to the U.S. women's national team's treatment in 2019, Bird told CNN that the difference was a matter of demographics in each sport.
Bird believes the reason the USWNT received more praise and respect is because "soccer players in general are cute little white girls."
"To be very blunt, but also very simple," explained Bird. “Soccer players are generally cute little white girls. And I think basketball players we are all shapes and sizes. We have ... 70 to 80 percent black women. Lots of gay women. We are tall. We are tall. And I think that might be an intimidation factor. People are quick to talk about it, judge it, put it down. And football, you just don't see it by how it looks. "
Bird expands on this point, saying that she believes the difference is not due to how the sports are marketed, but rather how society perceives the players.
“How society and the outside world are ready to accept the cute girl next door but are not ready to accept or hug or judge these basketball players who are tall, black and gay. For me, that is exactly where the problem lies. "
While these quotes make it seem like Bird is shooting at her friend - USWNT star Megan Rapinoe - it is not. Rapinoe made the same argument in an article on The Players' Tribune in October.
Rapinoe: Racism and homophobia affect how the WNBA is perceived
In this article, Rapinoe argues that WNBA players should be viewed as more than superheroes for what they were able to achieve in 2020. The WNBA has led the way on a number of racial and social issues and has carried this over to the 2020 season. dedicated to Breonna Taylor. In a year when ratings have dropped in almost every major sports league, WNBA ratings have risen significantly.
Rapinoe believes WNBA players deserve more credit for this, but they don't get credit due to racism and homophobia, according to The Players' Tribune.
This country has a deep history of racism and a deep history of homophobia.
And if you look at the players in the W, most of them are black and a lot of them are gay.
She explains that she is proud of what USWNT 2019 has achieved, but that the conversation about the team was incomplete.
And by that I mean, when it comes to American women's football, the common perception is that let's face it, we're the white girls next door. The straight, "cute", "threatless", "suburban" white girls next door. It's not really who we are - the WNT racial diversity is improving every year, even though it's not yet where it needs to be. And, you know, breaking news ... I'm gay. But, by and large, that's perception. And so we will certainly be marketed to many people.
Rapinoe goes on to believe that feminism should range "from race to class to religion, gender identity, sexual orientation and everything in between." She doesn't want people to only care about the kind of feminism that extends to "white girls next door" because that's how people perceive the USWNT.
Sue Bird wants to continue the dominant run at the 2020 Olympics
After leading the Seattle Storm to yet another championship, Bird takes a short break before preparing for the late 2020 Olympics. Bird has won four Olympic gold medals with Team USA in the past and will be looking for her fifth gold medal in 2021.
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