The WNBA champions apparently do have time for losers. Even as thousands of Americans have been left stranded in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, the Seattle Storm came to the White House for a photo-op with Joe Biden to celebrate their victory.
The Storm are the first NBA or WNBA team to visit the White House since the Cleveland Cavaliers came in 2016.
But their return to the White House came with an awkward, cringeworthy moment, when Biden, during a photo-op, bizarrely kneeled in front of the team as he showed off a jersey that read “Biden 46”
Was this simply a spur-of-the-moment decision? Or was Biden’s kneeling an intentional, symbolic gesture?
It seems to me that Joe Biden knew exactly what he was doing. He even praised the WNBA for being a platform for protest.
“What makes this team remarkable is they don’t just win games, they change lives: encouraging people to get vaccinated so we can beat this pandemic; speaking out and standing up for racial justice and voting rights; supporting education and membership program for young people, and — excuse me, mentorship programs for young people; and fighting to protect trans youth from an epidemic of violence and discrimination,” Biden said. “That’s what winners do. They shine the light. They lift people up. They’re a force for change. That’s the Seattle Storm. That’s the WNBA. That’s what they do.”
Ginny Gilder, co-owner of the Seattle Storm, also spoke and made the same point.
“These athletes did not enter the bubble and leave behind the pain, grief, and fury of the movement for social change that was washing across our country, stirred up by the ongoing crisis of police killings of black people,” she said. “In fact, they did the dead-opposite. The women of the W waded into the center of this movement. They used their play on the court and their eloquence off, not merely to demand change, but to generate engagement and cause change.”
The most common gesture of woke athletes has of course been kneeling on the court during the National Anthem. So it seems very likely that Biden’s kneeling was an intentional, symbolic act.
But considering Bide’s history of racist remarks, perhaps it was the players who should have taken a knee–or not shown up at all.