Amid White House Silence, Cheryl Reeve Says There is “A Ways to Go” For Gender Equality

Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Last week was a busy week for the Minnesota Lynx, both on and off the basketball court.

On the court, the defending WNBA champions kicked off the first week of training camp and faced the Washington Mystics in their first preseason game of the year.

Off the court, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding the team, mainly the story that Richard Deitsch of The Athletic broke earlier in the week stating Minnesota has yet to receive an invitation to the White House to celebrate its 2017 championship.

Even with the disappointment Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve and the team have expressed publicly since that story broke, there remains no communication from the White House.

“No, nothing has changed and we haven’t heard anything,” Reeve told Zone Coverage. “I think the important thing to note is, we’re not talking about it. People are coming to us and asking us about this. A lot of stories have been written about it, but we’ve had no communication with anyone from Washington.

“We don’t expect that because there are a few stories that their position will change.”

For Reeve, who has been an advocate for the WNBA and women’s sports in general for most of her career, this instance stretches beyond not getting an invitation to the White House.

It’s about continuing the fight for equality, especially between men’s and women’s sports.

“I think we’re closing the gap, but it’s a large gap. Of course, we have a ways to go, because women are still making 80 cents to the dollar of our male counterparts,” Reeve said. “We’ve been saying this for years. It’s going to take another 100 years for equality, and it just can’t. That can’t happen.”

Reeve did add that, throughout her coaching career — which has spanned over 30 years in both college and the WNBA — there have been major steps forward for women and women’s sports.

That holds especially true over the last week, when it was reported that San Antonio Spurs assistant coach and former WNBA star Becky Hammon would interview for the Milwaukee Bucks’ head coaching job, becoming the first female to interview — and potentially land — a head coaching position in the NBA.

“I’ve been (coaching) for 30 years since I graduated college. When I entered this league in 2001, now 18 years later there is a much bigger awareness. That’s a tribute to ways we can communicate sports and use digital platforms,” she said. “We have more ways to expose the game than there ever was. If you think about exposure, that’s the name of the game.

“When you see the coverage increase, you’ll see a jump. And that’s with how we view women in sports, politics and everything. Normalizing women in anything has taken a huge jump in the last five years.”

In the grand scheme of things, Reeve isn’t so much focused on whether or not her team gets an invitation to the White House. Her focus and her end goals are much bigger than just that.

“All of this starts with just seeing men and women as equal. There’s a lot there,” she said. “With the world we live in, we’re able to shine the light in the world today much more than we did before. There are better ways to gain awareness, that’s the biggest game changer in anything. Women have to be decision makers and be in leadership roles to gain in anything.

“It’s not a women’s job, it’s all of our jobs.”


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