If you’re like me and a solid 75% of your Twitter feed is, embarrassingly, NBA news, you’ve probably heard the Warriors’ Steph Curry gave a bombshell interview with Rolling Stone in which the four-time NBA champion revealed his team had been in talks earlier this summer to reunite with all-star Kevin Durant. *gasp!* But all of the subsequent coverage of this bit of the interview buries the real lede of the profile: The famously feminist athlete, whose mother spoke out this year about having had an abortion, expressed some unsettling, notably un-feminist takes on reproductive rights.
When the subject of Roe v. Wade being overturned in June came up, here’s what Curry said to Rolling Stone’s Matt Sullivan:
Curry’s mother began to speak publicly this year about having an abortion before Stephen—and having considered another while pregnant with him. Curry tried explaining to me that he considers himself neither pro-choice nor pro-life. He didn’t feel an urge to speak out against the Roe v. Wade reversal; he had an imaginary older brother in mind. When I brought up his Pentecostal megachurch and Christian values relating to abortion, Curry said, “I have certain beliefs that not everybody vibes with. As long as there’s equality, in the sense of you having all your protections and your rights as a citizen, that should be the very low bar for everybody to adhere to.”
I am… confused. What does it mean to be “neither pro-choice nor pro-life,” at a time when pregnant people—and disproportionately pregnant people of color—are losing their agency, livelihood, and even their lives to abortion bans? And how can “equality” exist in a country where state governments can force about half the population to give birth against their will, uprooting their lives, and—relevant to Curry’s famed advocacy for gender equality in sports—possibly ending their athletic careers?
The comments—alluding to Curry’s views about abortion “that not everybody vibes with,” seemingly disapproving of his mother’s abortion, and not identifying as “pro-choice”—don’t just go against the traditionally liberal, progressive grain of the NBA in general. They’re also surprising given Curry’s record as one of the most outspoken advocates for gender equality in sports. This is a man who completed his degree at Davidson University in May by writing a thesis—literally—about gender equity in sports. In 2018, he publicly shared a 9-year-old girl’s letter asking him to make his shoes available in girls’ sizes, sent her a hand-written response, and promptly started making his shoes for girls as well. Last year, Curry and his wife, Ayesha, launched and funded an initiative to support women’s sports at his alma mater.
But, as the WNBA, U.S. women’s soccer team, and women athletes around the world have long pointed out, there’s simply no gender equality in sports, or anywhere, without abortion rights. Safe and equitable access to reproductive care has always been essential to women and pregnant-capable athletes’ success. Just last year, Olympic track and field star Brianna McNeal revealed she’d been disqualified from participating in the Olympics after taking time to recover from an abortion she had in January 2020. McNeal told me at the time that “it was heartbreaking… to be told I should have been doing this instead of that, when they could never know [what it’s like] being inside my shoes.”
Abortion rights are also inseparable from racial justice, an issue Curry has stood on the frontlines of for years: Black pregnant people face the highest rates of pregnancy complications and maternal mortality, and all of this is exponentially worsened by abortion bans.
Perhaps another 9-year-old girl needs to write him a letter about this issue.