Terri Jackson, Director of Operations for the WNBA Player’s Association, joins Bobbi-Sue Doyle-Hazard on this week’s Leveling the Playing Field. Terri was with the WNBPA for just a few weeks when the “hot summer” in America of 2016 occurred. Through her leadership and the leadership of the PA’s executive team, the athletes of the WNBA accomplished something never seen before in history, a unified front on hot-button social issues.
Terri takes Bobbi-Sue through that time period and gives great insight into how the athletes came to the position they did and how Terri backed them up. In addition, the two talk about Terri’s background with the NCAA, how the men in her life help her “street cred,” and the impact that journaling has on her and her family, among many other topics.
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Additional Show Notes:
- Bobbi-Sue relates how she and Terri met.
- Terri’s love of sports grew from playing at a young age and watching Harold Carmichael (her maiden name is Carmichael) with the Philadelphia Eagles.
- Playing tennis was a confidence builder for Terri and it can be such a confidence builder for all girls.
- Terri and Bobbi-Sue discuss the 45th Anniversary of Title IX and how this is the norm for young women today. They expect the equal treatment and opportunity.
- Even in high school, you could tell Terri was going to be a great advocate for women in sport.
- Terri’s first 90 days on the job with the WNBPA were full of excitement. She starting May 2016 and was thrown right into the fire. This was a “hot summer” in America. The athletes were unanimous in their resolve to show their support of Black Lives Matter and the Dallas 5.
- The league was not aligned with the athletes’ resolve, however, and Terri drew from her experience working at the NCAA to try and counteract the league’s response.
- On her 90th day on the job, the league rescinded the fines. This came after public pressure, including lots of support from NBA players. Bobbi-Sue and Terri discuss a missed opportunity for all athletes to stand in solidarity at the ESPY’s that year.
- The women discuss other avenues of social impact and advocacy including:
- Layshia Clarendon, a gender non-conforming athlete who takes the time to educate and have good engaging conversations across the league
- Seattle Storm‘s first of its kind partnership with Planned Parenthood
- Financial philanthropy of athletes
- How the players’ association educates, finds opportunities, and provides a forum for discourse on issues
- Bobbi-Sue and Terri have both, apparently, sent letters or emailed a certain publication for its lack of diversity in its top-whatever lists
- Terri’s family includes two very impressive athletes: her husband, Jaren Jackson (an ex- NBA player); and son, Jared Jr. (a freshman athlete at Michigan State).
- Terri has a lovely tradition for family vacations regarding journaling.
- The next year will prove to be an important one with the collective bargaining agreement opt-out coming up.
- Terri pulled a few strings to get a letter sent to the LA Sparks from President Obama.
- Bobbi-Sue and Terri end with a discussion of Terri’s self-care and routines.
- “They were all in. All of them. And it was such a beautiful testament.”
- “We’ve seen individual athletes, major, popular athletes, come out and take stands. We’ve seen that. That’s nothing new. But for an entire league of players?! I’m not certain that we’ve seen that before.”
- “They took my breath away”
- “As a country, we missed the opportunity to truly take in what they had done and use that as a model”
- “I knew then that whatever I thought this job was going to be, it was going to be that and so much more. And so, I thought to myself, Hang on! This is going to be awesome.” – regarding her 90th day on the job
- “Was so proud in the moment of Carmelo, Chris, Dwayne, and Lebron in that moment. It was a beautiful statement. It really was… that image would have been something very different, perhaps heightened, had there been the presence of women who also happened to be athletes on that stage sharing that moment with them” – regarding the ESPY’s demonstration
- “We need to talk. We need to engage with each other. We need to lift each other up.”
Follow the Leader:
Extra Credit Reading/Watching:
- “How Title IX Inspires Former WNBA Players to Pay It Forward” (Forbes)
- “45th Anniversary of Title IX Cause for Celebration” (USA Today)
- “The WNBA’s Black Lives Matter Protest Has Set a New Standard for Sports Activism” (Slate)
- “How badass WNBA players responded when they were fined for protesting injustice.” (UpWorthy)
- “Keeping the Faith” (Layshia Clarendon for The Players’ Tribune)
- “Layshia Clarendon on How LGB Too Often Leaves Off the T” (Esquire
- “A gender nonconforming WNBA star is pushing the league forward on LGBTQ inclusion” (ThinkProgress)
- “Seattle Storm Take Progressive Tack with Planned Parenthood Partnership” (NY Times)
- “W.N.B.A.’s Seattle Storm Embrace a Role in Social Activism” (NY Times)
- “The Next Level of Social Advocacy in Sport” (Media Planet)
- “Strictly Business” (Jaren Jackson, Jr. for The Players’ Tribune)