Women’s sports world reacts to Texas school shooting

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert honored the victims of the shooting ahead of Tuesday’s Chicago Sky game. (Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

In the wake of a school shooting Tuesday in Texas that left 19 children and two adults dead, athletes and others from the women’s sports world expressed their grief and outrage over the tragedy.

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert opened a pregame ceremony meant to celebrate the Chicago Sky’s championship with a somber moment in which she offered “heartfelt sympathies to the families of the victims and those affected.”

Sky coach and general manger James Wade addressed the shooting in a press conference.

“It’s just tough. It’s tough,” Wade said. “You have second and third and fourth graders… They don’t deserve to be in situations where you don’t get the chance to see tomorrow.”

The Washington Mystics held a media blackout following their game to focus attention on the tragedy, while the Dallas Wings dedicated their game to the city of Uvalde, where the shooting occurred.

Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale pointed out after the game that the children who died in the shooting were in their last week of school and preparing for summer vacation.

“Now everything is just ruined because gun laws and people not caring about that,” she said. “Worrying about abortion when you should be worried about guns. It’s so easy, an 18-year-old having a gun – he probably just went to go buy it because the laws are so free in Texas. I mean, something has to change. We can’t keep saying ‘Rest in peace’ to people, every weekend, every day, every other day.

“Yes we’re playing sports and stuff too. But that’s heavy on our hearts because these are kids. This could be our future kids…It’s really hard to focus on other stuff. It’s not fair to kids growing up.”

Wings guard Marina Mabrey called the societal malaise over gun violence “absolutely ridiculous.”

“When does it stop, when do we do something about it? How many times are we just going to talk about it with nobody making any moves?” she questioned.

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve was in tears when asked about the shooting after her team’s game.

“As a nation, it just feels like to be supposedly world leaders and to miss so badly in taking care of out people, we’re sickened by it,” she said. “I have a 7-year-old that goes to school and I said to my wife, ‘It’s not if, it’s when is it gonna happen.’ It’s nonsensical. My kid got out of the car today and I ran and hugged him. I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine what those families go through.

“And it’s not that hard. It’s not about Democrats, Republicans or any other people. It’s about people. And understanding that we don’t need to have the type of guns [used].”

Phoenix Mercury forward Brianna Turner wrote on Twitter that “something has to change.”

She expanded on those sentiments in a postgame press conference Wednesday.

“I know this is business as usual,” she said. “We experience shootings, go to work, go to school the next day. We don’t process because it’s so normalized.”

She then listed the names of some of the students who were killed.

“Their families will never talk to them again,” she said. “We have a serious issue. There are 535 people in Congress. There are 330 million people in the U.S. It shouldn’t be left or right. This shouldn’t be normalized.”

Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart called it “a parent’s worst nightmare” on her Twitter account.

“Enough is enough,” she wrote. “No more gun violence, no more terrorism. This is sickening.”

South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley expressed her dismay at the shooting, which came one week after 10 people were killed in a Buffalo supermarket.

“Can’t put my phone down without coming back to see there’s yet another school shooting,” she wrote. “Praying the senselessness ceases NOW like today. May the Lord hold and keep the families of the deceased.”

South Carolina star Aliyah Boston tweeted that “parents should feel comfortable sending their CHILDREN to school knowing they will see them later in the day.”

UConn star Paige Bueckers called the situation “heartbreaking.”

Portland Thorns and USWNT defender Becky Sauerbrunn took to Twitter on Thursday to echo the comments made by Megan Rapinoe following OL Reign’s match Wednesday night. In her comments, Rapinoe called the lack of gun control in the United States the “definition of insanity.”

“Megan Rapinoe is right, this is crazy,” Sauerbrunn wrote. “Sandy Hook. Buffalo. Uvalde. So many others. Love to those kids, their families and their communities.

“How long do we need to be haunted, horrified and heartbroken?”

The Houston Dash also issued a statement.

Dash forward Rachel Daly called the shooting “truly devastating and heartbreaking.”

“When will all this end?” she wrote.

San Diego Wave defender Abby Dahlkemper tweeted in response to Sen. Mitch McConnell’s post on the shooting, telling the minority leader to “shove this tweet up your butt Mitch McConnell and actually do something about it.”

Wave forward Alex Morgan tweeted that she is “sickened by what happened to these children.”

Racing Louisville forward Jessica McDonald, who has a son in the fourth grade, wrote that she “could not imagine being one of the parents who’s child didn’t come home from school.”

Washington Spirit coach Kris Ward tweeted that the situation has “been a lot.”

“At times like these it is difficult for me to even attempt to find words, especially words that haven’t already been stated more eloquently elsewhere,” he wrote. “Just know that we are in it too.”

Tennis star Serena Williams said that she is “truly heartbroken by these heinous shootings.”

“I keep praying for the victims and people affected by these crimes,” she wrote on Twitter.

Another tennis icon in Billie Jean King also called for action.

“These shootings regularly happen in the U.S. & very rarely elsewhere,” she wrote.

Olympic skier Mikaela Shiffrin called for the United States to change its gun laws.

“How heartbreaking do these tragedies have to be? How extreme? How close to your home? To your school? To your kids?” she wrote. “For the USA to be known first and foremost for our gun laws is absurd and terrifying.”