On Tuesday evening, Pacers Sports & Entertainment concluded its first-ever virtual Black History Month Coaches Symposium: Intersecting Race & Sports as a part of their Dream Big initiative.
Hosted on Zoom, Fever head coach Marianne Stanley participated in the six-person panel alongside Indiana Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren and Pacers Sports & Entertainment Vice President of Communications Quinn Buckner.
During the 60-minute symposium, each panelist was provided the chance to share their thoughts on intersecting race in sports and how basketball can promote positive change in the community.
Coach Stanley called attention to the WNBA’s continuous role in positive change and social justice, including their most recent “Say Her Name” campaign that the entire league ignited while in the bubble last year.
“One of the most impactful things [in the bubble] was that our players not only got behind the Black Lives Matter movement,” she said. “But also created a space for “Say Her Name” in honor of Breonna Taylor, the tragic loss of her life and other women like her who are so often are not made mention of in the media.”
She then went on to explain how often athletes are often only seen for what they bring to their respective sport. However, now we are seeing that change as athletes continue to use their voices to speak out about matters that are important to them.
“I came up at a time when little girls were basically discouraged from being athletes, it didn’t matter if they were white or black,” she replied. “So, it’s like a new day and age, and I’m so proud of that fact that there is opportunity across the board for people no matter where they come from.”
“You know we often times hear of athletes being labeled as just athletes, as if they don’t have a brain, a heart and a passion for things outside of the court, or the field, and nothing could be further from the truth. I think our players were very visible and really dedicated to the notion that this opportunity could not pass without the world at large seeing just how incredible our players truly are. Not only as women basketball players and professionals, but as citizens, and that they were willing to use their voice for good.”
The symposium concluded with a virtual Q&A session about basketball skills and drills featuring Pacers radio and television analyst Eddie Gill and Fever guard Kathleen Doyle.
You can watch the full symposium in its entirety below: