Op-Ed: National Black Women In Sports Day Was a Good Start, But We Need More in the Future

I must admit, when I first heard that July 7 wasn’t going to be just another day on the calendar, but National Black Women in Sports Day, I was thrilled. Having heard the stories as well as seen more than my share play out in real time, it felt good to see sisters in the sports game get some of the recognition and credit that so many have undoubtedly deserved.

To see all the wonderful stories, inspirational messages and social media engagement around this day, was indeed a beautiful thing. 

It was a nice start. And as we move forward, that’s all it was, a start

The idea that a day like that is needed—which it is—speaks to the overall lack of diversity and inclusiveness that exists for Black women when it comes to sports. And as we see, Black women have the capacity and capability to impact the sports game on a multitude of levels.

Like their male Black brethren, they too are benefiting from the one thing we all want; an opportunity. 

Nicole Lynn of Klutch Sports has been one of the best examples recently of what happens when talent and opportunity collide. What she has done when it comes to agent representation isn’t just about a woman making an impact. She’s making an impact, and just so happens to be a woman. 

That is what folks from marginalized groups have fought so hard to accomplish for so long; an opportunity to prove their worth not because of their skin color or gender, but because of their talents and skills to simply get the job done at the highest of levels. 

The strides made by Black women in sports is undeniable. We saw how LSU’s Angel Reese became one of the biggest names in college basketball, male or female, this past season leading her team to its first-ever national championship. Along her journey, she built up quite the following while stacking up a few—quite a few—bags of money courtesy of her power to flex her brand via the NCAA’s Name, Image and Likeness (N.I.L.) rules which (finally) allow college athletes to cash in on their popularity to move the societal interest needle.

Throughout the landscape of where games are played, the power and pull of women in fields of play was undeniable. But the true game-changer, when it comes to Black women in sports, is leadership.

There is no other segment of the sports ecosystem where the impact and imprint of Black women is more notable, than what we have seen in recent years. And it’s not just one sport or one segment of sports, either. 

  • Sandra Douglass Morgan, president of the Las Vegas Raiders
  • Nicole Lynn, president of football operations for Klutch Sports; negotiated a then-NFL record $255 million extension for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts
  • Cynthia Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks
  • Swin Cash, Vice-President of Basketball Operations and team development, New Orleans Pelicans.
  • Allison Feaster, Vice-President of Team Operations and Organizational Growth, Boston Celtics.
  • Shelly Cayette, Executive Vice-President and COO, Cleveland Cavaliers

The list of Black women elevating sports organizations and in doing so, opportunities for Black women to follow, is steadily increasing. And while some may point out how opportunity is what we all ultimately want and need to be successful, the path towards that end is far more treacherous, far more daunting for Black women than it is for other groups. 

Which is why there’s tremendous value in celebrating Black Women in Sports Day. 

But that value needs to become transformative and bring about the kind of substantive and sustained change we all should be seeking out; the kind that does more than make for a nice trending topic or hashtag on social media for one of the 365 days out of the year. 

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Updated: July 14, 2023 — 12:01 pm