During any period of time dedicated to honoring women—whether that’s International Women’s Day or Women’s History Month—at least a handful of organizations are bound to make fools of themselves with try-hard content that screams, “Women probably don’t work here.” And nearly every year, you can count on one of those organizations belonging to the sporting realm, where comprehension of the lived experiences of women and trans people appears to be at a third grade level at best.
On Wednesday, the NBA’s Toronto Raptors volunteered themselves for some egg in the face when they posted a video in honor of Women’s History Month. In the 13-second video (because you couldn’t possibly require more time to explain women’s impact on the world), a graphic appears, stating: “Beyoncé said girls run the world. Why do you think that’s true?” Three players then share their responses...
Malachi Flynn said girls run the world because “they are the only one [sic] that can procreate.” Precious Achiuwa echoed that sentiment, adding that girls rock because “they birth everybody.” A third player, Scottie Barnes, delivered the closest thing to a good answer, declaring vaguely that “all women are great because they are queens.” Normally, I would not classify this kind of girlboss statement as poignant, but when you’re measured up against “I see women only as vessels for my sperm” and “I literally can’t think of a better reason I should value women outside of their birthing capabilities,” well Scottie, you can have the gold star this time.
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After the video was widely mocked and criticized, the organization quickly deleted the tweet and on Thursday issued an apology to the Toronto Sun: “We’re an organization that prides itself on doing the right thing when it comes to inclusion and representation, and we made a mistake [Tuesday]...Our sincerest apologies to our players, our staff and our fans—we’ll work to do better today and every day after.”
I can’t stop thinking about how, out of a bench of 17 players, these were the best responses the team could come up with. What on earth did the other players say that was so…insufficient that the video had to be edited to a mere 13 seconds with these three as the shining beacons of cis male ally-ship? I demand to see the cut footage, the bloopers.
Of course, pregnancy is an incredible feat, and mothers and pregnant people do deserve our respect and appreciation. But I regret to inform the Toronto Raptors players that women have made history once or twice for something other than helping men spread their seed. Harriet Tubman, perhaps? Does the name Nellie Bly ring a bell? Amelia Earhart? Rosa Parks? How about Rita Moreno for fuck’s sake?
Someone, please, get these men a tutor.