Entertainment

Nets Player Kyrie Irving Commits $1.5 Million To Help Pay The Salaries Of WNBA Players Opting Out Of The 2020 Season

While WNBA players were able to receive a modest salary increase in the 2019-20 season, the bump up has yet to give way to the opportunity of true equity. This has proven to be particularly true when their male counterparts of the NBA are thrown into the mix.

Today, the average salary of a WNBA player starts at around $50,000 and caps off at $110,000. On the other hand, a player starting out in the NBA starts out with a salary that averages around $560,000. Currently, amid COVID-19 shutdowns, this massive gap in salary is heavily affecting the WNBA players who are being paid less and opting to forgo playing during the 2020 season.

According to NBC Sports, WNBA executives and athletes have agreed that players who are considered “at-risk” for the COVID-19 virus can opt-out of playing this season and still receive a full paycheck. Meanwhile, those who are not “at-risk” but make the decision not to play will not receive compensation.

Fortunately, many NBA players are aware of the ways in which this disparity affects them differently and are working to support the women who play the game as well.

Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving is leading the charge to ensure that WNBA athletes who opt out of playing this season can do so without worrying about finances. 

The Nets point guard announced in a statement made via his KAI Empowerment Initiative, that he pledges to commit $1.5 million to cover the salaries of WNBA players who have opted out of playing in the 2020 season. As part of his effort, Irving has also partnered with the investment banking company UBS to offer financial literacy programs to each of the players in the WNBA.

“This platform was created to provide support for all WNBA players in hopes to relieve some of the financial strain imposed during these challenging times,” Irving explained in a statement. “Whether a person decided to fight for social justice, play basketball, focus on physical or mental health, or simply connect with their families, this initiative can hopefully support their priorities and decisions.”

Players must provide the reasons behind their decision to not participate in the 2020 season to qualify.

In order to qualify, WNBA players cannot receive any additional financial support from other organizations.

According to CNBC, Irving makes an annual average salary of roughly $34 million and said that he was inspired to start the fund “after WNBA players Natasha Cloud of the Washington Mystics and Jewell Loyd of the Seattle Storm connected him with several of their WNBA peers who discussed some of the challenges they would face if they opted not to play when the season started on July 25.”

Cloud recently announced that she will be committing her time during the season to fight for racial and social justice instead of playing.

Players Renee Montgomery and Tiffany Hayes of the Atlanta Dream, have also confirmed their decision to take part in the fight. In addition, ten other WNBA athletes have also confirmed that they will not be playing this year because of health concerns or other reasons related to the fight for social justice.

Speaking with ESPN’s The Undefeated, Cloud explained, “It’s hard to think about basketball with the climate of what we’re in right now socially after George Floyd was murdered.” 

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A Woman On TikTok Gave Her Followers Insight Into What It Feels Like To Be Paralyzed

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A Woman On TikTok Gave Her Followers Insight Into What It Feels Like To Be Paralyzed

Atsushi Tomura/Getty

In 2009, the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health reported that almost 5.4 million people in the United States live with paralysis. Still, despite how common this is, few people understand the condition of paralysis and how it affects a person’s daily life. Twenty-two-year-old Jessica Tawil, of New Jersey, recently set out to explain the experience on TikTok last year.

Since her first post in November, the TikToker has garnered over 1 million followers with content that focuses on her experience of being paralyzed from the waist down.

In a post shared on her TikTok page, Tawil explained an exercise that might give people a chance to understand the sensation of being paraplegic.

@jesstawil

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♬ Epic Emotional – AShamaluevMusic

In a post shared on her TikTok page, Tawil shared an exercise with her followers that demonstrates how it feels to not be able to move a ligament. In this case, it’s your finger. According to Buzzfeed, Tawil came across the exercise after looking through posts related to disabilities. “I remember feeling so blown away because my legs felt the exact same way as my finger did,” she said.

“Not many people know too much about paraplegics and their capabilities, so I wanted to be that light to inform, educate, and even entertain people,” Tawil explained to BuzzFeed. “I want people to know what it’s like to be paralyzed … so that they can be a little bit more appreciative of what they have and remain humble.”

Tawil’s video demonstration currently has over 12 million views.

Tawil explained that a kidnapping and car accident led to her paralysis when she was in her teens.

Tawil explained that the accident took place on Nov. 15, 2014, when she went to a friend’s house in high school. When she arrived, Tawil discovered that men were present and instantly felt uncomfortable when she further learned that they had brought drugs and alcohol.

“When I eventually asked them to take me home, they took me to an abandoned road instead. When we got to this road, the driver stopped the car and put his foot on the gas and brake at the same time, doing a burnout with his wheels. He lost control of the car and crashed into a tree,” Tawil explained. “It was at this moment that I got whiplash, split my head open to the point where my skull was exposed, and sustained a spinal cord injury — leaving me paralyzed the moment we crashed,” she said. “Paramedics said that I lost the equivalence of a ‘Coca-Cola bottle of blood’ out of my head, and didn’t think I’d make it if they drove me to the hospital. So they drove me to a nearby soccer field where a helicopter airlifted me to the ICU. From there on, I went through seven months of rehab and remained permanently paralyzed and wheelchair-bound.”

Speaking about her injury, Tawil says she was “robbed of my ability to use the bathroom normally (I depend on catheters and enemas).”

Sadly Tawil says her experience led to her reclusiveness and weariness to trust others. Still, she finds that her disability comes with positives. “On the positive side, I have become a lot more spiritual and grateful to have been given another chance at life,” she told BuzzFeed. “My accident has emphasized the fact that we are not promised tomorrow, and that we should always be grateful for the simplest things in life… I also want to show people how I live my life in the present day — what is life like as a wheelchair user? — and devote my channel to being a blog where people can get to know me on a lot more of a personal level.”

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Black Class Is Back! Kamala Harris Wore Monochrome For Sonia Sotomayor Swearing-In Ceremony

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Black Class Is Back! Kamala Harris Wore Monochrome For Sonia Sotomayor Swearing-In Ceremony

ANDREW HARNIK / Getty

As of Wednesday morning, Kamala Harris is officially the 49th vice president of the United States. The historic moment, which saw Harris become the first American vice president to be of Black and South Asian descent is also notable because she is the first woman vice president to hold office. Sworn in on Inauguration Day by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and welcomed in by the bells of her alma mater Howard University, the day was packed full of color, power, and (for the first time in years!) class.

Check out the most poignant moments of the inauguration below.

Harris Wore An Inauguration Outfit By A Queer Black designer

Looking royal in an all-purple ensemble designed by queer black designer Christopher John Rogers Harris kept things simple and elegant in an A-line, deep violet coat, and a matching dress. The monochrome outfit has drawn comparisons to former First Lady Michelle Obama’s inauguration outfit and seemed to lead the way with other outfits worn that day by Jill Biden, Jennifer Lopez, and Michelle Obama. The bold look was more than just a fashion statement however, it was also a massive show of support of Black and Queer people.

Amanda Gorman delivered a poem that made her the youngest inauguration poet ever

Twenty-two-year-old Amanda Gorman became the youngest inaugural poet in history on Wednesday. Sharing her poem “The Hill We Climb” Gorman spoke to the world about rebuilding our future. “We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace … We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,” she read. “Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy … So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left with … we’ll raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.”

Harris was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

In another historic moment, while becoming the first woman vice president and the first person of color to hold that office, Harris was sworn in on Inauguration Day by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Harris was nominated to her position by President Barack Obama in 2009 and became the first Latino member of the Court.

Howard University honored Harris with 49 bell tolls and the ‘Black national anthem’

Harris was escorted to the inauguration ceremony by the university’s marching band, the Showtime Marching Band.

“Throughout her career, the vice president-elect has carried her Howard education with her, ensuring that she adhere to truth and service and inspiring her to achieve unprecedented levels of excellence,” Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick said ahead of the ceremony. “It is perfectly fitting that the Showtime Marching Band, the ensemble that captures and reverberates the heartbeat of our institution, should accompany her on this last leg of her journey to the White House.”

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