Layshia Clarendon addressed the Supreme Court’s decision Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade in a recent USA Today op-ed, calling out the decision as just one piece of a much larger attack on personal freedoms.

The first openly trans and nonbinary player in the WNBA also called out the 18 states that have banned transgender athletes participating in sports that match their gender identities under the guise of protecting women’s sports.

“I know from deep personal experience, Republicans do not care about women’s sports,” they wrote. “What they do care about is simple and allows for singular, relentless focus. The consolidation of power. And they’ll use women’s sports as yet another quick gesture to trick people into giving them that power.

“Fear sells, it spreads. It morphs and shape shifts to one size fits all, and Republicans are seasoned magicians creating new tall tales under the guise of unity, fairness, and protecting women.”

Clarendon is the WNBA’s first openly transgender player, and the first to go by they/them pronouns. Clarendon uses she/her, they/them and he/him pronouns interchangeably.

In the piece, they assert that the stripping of individual rights, from sports participation to reproductive health, slowly will begin to include other areas until all rights have been taken away.

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, leaving the fate of abortion rights up to individual states. More than 20 states are set to reduce or ban abortion access.

“It starts at the margins, chipping away slowly – at access to hormones, what can be inside your body – and builds, like a pot of boiling water to a destructive roil that consumes: birth control, condoms, who you can love, how you can raise your children, what can be taught in schools. These aren’t secret ambitions,” Clarendon wrote. “Republicans have said the desire to overturn Loving v. Virginia, granting interracial couples the right to marry, Roe v. Wade, which made abortion a right and was overturned on June 24, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which guaranteed gay marriage.

“It took both Loving and Obergefell to make the union between me and my wife legal. Two protections under the law so a black queer person and a white queer person could marry and have access to the benefits it grants under the law. It took Title IX to allow me to step on a court. Freedom requires constant vigilance and it requires intentional protections.

“So trust us that we would know first when it’s slipping away.”

The Minnesota Lynx cut Layshia Clarendon, Crystal Dangerfield and four other players on Tuesday.

The roster cuts comes alongside the signing of Odyssey Sims to a one-year contract, Rachel Galligan reported for Winsidr.

Sims, who played for the Lynx in the 2019 and 2020 seasons, averaged 8.7 points, 3.6 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 30 games with the Atlanta Dream last season.

Clarendon was drafted by the Indiana Fever in 2013 and bounced around the league before joining the Lynx as an unrestricted free agent last May. Clarendon, the first openly nonbinary player in WNBA history, averaged 10.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 5.7 assists through 21 appearances with the Lynx last season.

Lynx Cheryl Reeve coach told reporters Tuesday that the decision to waive Clarendon was injury-related.

“Yes. It wasn’t that Lay became a bad basketball player. It has nothing to do with Lay’s ability to not lead or play. It just didn’t feel like to start the season that we were in a good enough place physically.”

Dangerfield was selected with the No. 16 overall pick by Minnesota in 2020, winning Rookie of the Year honors that season. The guard averaged 7.7 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists through 31 appearances during the 2021 season.

Minnesota also waived Yvonne Turner, Rennia Davis, Kayla Jones and Hannah Sjerven on Tuesday.

On Nov. 29, 2014, five days after a Missouri grand jury decided not to indict the police officer who killed Micheal Brown, Ariyana Smith became the first athlete to bring the #BlackLivesMatter movement into the sports landscape.

While Muhammad Ali, Colin Kaepernick and LeBron James are commonly thought of as the torchbearers of sports activism, Just Women’s Sports knows Black women have always been at the forefront of driving change. In the first piece of our Black History Month series, we shared the stories of Rose Robinson and Wyomia Tyus, athletes who fought against injustice in the 1950s and ‘60s. Since then, a myriad of Black sportswomen have taken action, some recognized and some not.

Smith, a basketball player at Knox College, suited up to play against Fontbonne University in Clayton, Miss., mere minutes from Ferguson. When the national anthem began to play, Smith raised her hands in the now iconic “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture before laying on the ground. Officials tried to move Smith in an attempt to start the game, but she continued her demonstration for four and a half minutes, symbolic of the four and a half hours Mike Brown’s body lay in the street after he was killed.

While the #BlackLivesMatter movement has spurred a frenzy of demonstrations in sports, Black women have been championing a variety of topics before the age of kneeling began. In the past twenty years, issues of racism, sexism and equality have been thrust into the public discourse due to the actions of Black women in sports, committed to creating a more just world for those who come after them.

Toni Smith

More than a decade before Ariyana Smith took a stand, a different Smith protested the national anthem. In 2003, Toni Smith, a senior basketball player at Division III Manhattanville College, turned her back to the flag in protest against inequality and the country’s involvement in Iraq.

(Wayne Taylor/Getty Images)

Venus Williams

In 2006, Venus Williams penned an open letter in The Times in a push for equal pay. A year earlier, she had addressed the Grand Slam Board, advocating for an equal distribution of prize money at the French Open and Wimbledon. Williams’ voice brought attention to the pay discrepancies in the sport of tennis and led to the leveling of pay at Wimbledon. When she won her fourth Wimbledon trophy in 2007, Williams became the first woman to receive the same earnings as that of the men’s champion.

Seimone Augustus

Seimone Augustus, a four-time WNBA champion and one of the most decorated players in women’s basketball, advocated for gay marriage in 2012. The 2011 WNBA Finals MVP wanted to marry her wife in the state where she had won a championship the year prior. The Minnesota Lynx star spoke out against a ballot measure that would have made same-sex marriage illegal in the Minnesota state constitution.

Brittney Griner and Layshia Clarendon

In 2017, Brittney Griner and Layshia Clarendon co-wrote an op-ed in which they voiced their opposition to a Texas bill that would have barred transgender people from using restrooms and other public facilities of their choosing. The WNBA stars saw the bill as a danger to queer athletes who may have been forced to use a locker room that differed from their gender identity.

Maya Moore

Maya Moore, one of the most accomplished women’s basketball players in the history of the sport, stepped away from the game at the peak of her success to pursue criminal justice reform. Moore dedicated herself to freeing her now-husband Jonathan Irons, who had been falsely imprisoned for burglary and assault. With the help of Moore, a judge overturned Irons’ conviction after he spent 23 years of his life in prison.

Serena Williams

Serena Williams has been outspoken about gender and racial equality for most of her illustrious tennis career. She wrote an open letter in 2016 addressing equal pay, and another in 2017, on Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, focusing on pay inequities unique to Black women. In 2018, Serena and Venus Williams joined the Billie Jean King Initiative to push for equal pay for women in all industries.

(Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Allyson Felix

Allyson Felix brought attention to Nike’s refusal to guarantee salary protections for pregnant athletes in a 2019 New York Times op-ed. Felix, the most decorated U.S. track athlete, said that Nike attempted to pay her 70 percent less after she became a mother. Shortly after Felix’s public appeal, the company expanded its pregnancy benefits for women athletes.

Allyson Felix and Serena Williams are also champions for Black maternal health. Both women experienced life-threatening complications during childbirth, common to Black women. Felix underwent an emergency C-section to save herself and her daughter after doctors discovered she had severe preeclampsia. Williams developed a pulmonary embolism and a hematoma shortly after she gave birth, resulting in a series of surgeries and weeks of recovery before regaining her health.

Williams’ story brought national attention to the Black maternal health crisis, and she invested $3 million in a Black-owned startup aimed at improving prenatal and postpartum care for new mothers. Felix testified before Congress to petition the government to address systemic biases that lead to disparities in maternal mortality.

Gwen Berry

Gwen Berry raised her fist during the national anthem after winning the hammer throw at the 2019 Pan American games. Berry, a thrower for the U.S. women’s track and field team, was protesting racial inequality and police brutality, and was subsequently put on a 12-month probation by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. As a result, Berry lost several sponsorship deals, totaling nearly $50,000. After the Olympic Committee reversed their stance on protests in 2020, Berry demonstrated again at the 2021 Olympic Trials, this time by turning away from the flag.

Naomi Osaka

Days after Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisc., Naomi Osaka refused to play the semifinals of the Western and Southern Open, forcing the tournament’s postponement. Less than a week later, she arrived at the 2020 U.S. Open with seven masks in her duffle bag, each embroidered with the name of a Black victim of police violence: Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Philando Castile and Tamir Rice. Osaka wore a different mask during each round of the tournament, winning her second U.S. Open title while drawing international attention to police brutality.

(Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Raven Saunders

At the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, while standing on the podium, Raven Saunders raised her arms and crossed them into an “X.” The American made the Game’s first podium demonstration after winning silver in the shot put. As a gay, Black woman with a history of mental health struggles, Saunders’ crossed arms symbolized the intersection of her oppressed identities.

Simone Biles

On the eve of further cementing herself as the greatest gymnast of all time, Simone Biles withdrew from the team final and women’s individual all-around final at the Tokyo Games. She cited mental exhaustion and physical health concerns after experiencing the “twisties,” a state of dissociation that inhibits a gymnast from completing a skill.

As arguably the face of the Tokyo Olympics, dealing with the pressure of breaking world records, Biles felt the weight of the world on her shoulders. In a sport that has long demanded obedience from its young athletes, the simple act of saying “no” sparked a moment of reckoning in sports. Biles, who announced in 2018 that she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar, a longtime doctor for USA Gymnastics, spurred conversations about mental health, abuse and exploitation with her decision. Biles, like so many other Black women athletes, continues to leverage her platform to drive societal change.

Mariah Lee is a professional athlete and freelance writer who specializes in the intersection of race and sports. She holds a B.A. from Stanford University and a M.S. from the Wake Forest School of Business. Follow her on Instagram @merdashewrote.

The Minnesota Lynx have re-signed Layshia Clarenson and Rachel Banham. According to HerHoopStats, both deals are for one year.

“Re-signing both Layshia and Rachel was very important for us this offseason,” said head coach and GM Cheryl Reeve. “Layshia played a clear role in our success last season and their command of the game and leadership while on the floor is vital. Rachel’s shooting and passing ability adds an important dimension to the team from the bench. We are happy to have both players back for the 2022 season.”

Clarendon appeared in 21 games for Minnesota in the 2021 season, averaging 10.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game. They led the Lynx in assists on 16 occasions, including a season-best nine assists twice (June 23 and July 9). Recording a season-high 20 points and seven assists on June 25, it was their fifth career 20+ point performance.

“Minnesota and this team have been a salve for my soul,” said Clarendon. “There was no question during free agency where I wanted to be. I’m beyond thrilled to be back with the Lynx for my 10th season.”

Clarendon joined the Lynx after being waived by New York on May 20.

Banham played 27 games during the 2021 season, her second with Minnesota. She contributed 5.0 points, 1.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game while shooting 39.5 percent from the field.

“Minnesota is my home,” said Banham. “There’s no greater feeling than playing at home in front of your friends, family and the greatest fans in the WNBA. I’m very excited to be back and look forward to what this season holds.”

A native of Lakeville, Minn., Banham graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2016. The fourth overall pick of the 2016 draft, she spent her first four seasons with Connecticut. She was later traded to the Lynx in 2020. During the 2020 season, she averaged 6.9 points and 2.4 assists through 20 games.

The Lynx have been active this offseason, signing Angel McCoughtry and re-signing veteran Sylvia Fowles for her final season.

Layshia Clarendon is grateful for the Minnesota Lynx.

Following a loss to the Chicago Sky in the second round of the playoffs, they tweeted about how losing “sucks in ways that make everything come crashing down.”

“But/and I am so full of gratitude for my Lynx family,” they continued. “They have been my landing place in a tough season of life.”

Clarendon has been a game-changer for the Minnesota Lynx after signing with them on a free-agent contract. With Clarendon at the helm, the Lynx bounced back from an 0-4 start to secure the third seed in the 2021 WNBA Playoffs.

Last Friday also saw Clarendon announced as the August recipient of the WNBA Cares Community Assist Award.

At the beginning of this year’s WNBA season, the New York Liberty surprisingly waived Layshia Clarendon.

Ten days later, the former Cal guard signed a free-agent contract with the Minnesota Lynx. Only hours later, the 30-year-old veteran helped the team win its first game of the WNBA season.

Clarendon, the WNBA’s first openly nonbinary and transgender player, who uses myriad pronouns, signed with the Lynx to fill a roster spot when guard Aerial Powers was lost to a hamstring injury.

Since then, with Clarendon at the helm, the Lynx have bounced back from a 0-4 start to the season to become the No. 3-seeded team and earn a first-round bye in the 2021 WNBA Playoffs.

Averaging 10.5 points, 5.7 assists, and 3.3 rebounds in 20 games with Minnesota, they have helped the Lynx mark their 13th overall playoff appearance.

In July, Minnesota sealed the deal and signed Clarendon to a rest of the season contract, meaning they will remain with the team for a potential fifth WNBA championship run.

On Friday, the WNBA announced Clarendon as the August recipient of the WNBA Cares Community Assist Award for their continuous efforts as an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and Black and Brown youth.

Clarendon is passionate about full inclusion in sports and is also dedicated to supporting families of police brutality victims.

Through their work with the Clay Counseling Foundation, they work to provide restorative justice services, LGBTQ+ support, and support for victims of domestic violence.

The Minnesota Lynx are on a tear.

With a 77-67 win over the Aces on Friday night, the Lynx picked up their sixth consecutive victory.

Layshia Clarendon led the Lynx with 18 points, adding five rebounds and nine assists in the win.

Sylvia Fowles and Damiris Dantas each contributed 14 points and nine rebounds.

The Lynx are now 2-0 against the Aces, after they defeated Las Vegas 90-89 in overtime in late June. The second-place Aces have now dropped two straight.

Next up: The Aces will travel to Dallas to take on the Wings on Sunday. The Lynx will head to Los Angeles to face the Sparks on Sunday.

Layshia Clarendon is hitting the front page.

Clarendon revealed Thursday morning that they are this month’s ESPN’s cover athlete. The story, written by Katie Barnes, details Clarendon’s journey as the WNBA’s first openly nonbinary and transgender athlete.

The story further highlights the strides Clarendon has taken in the WNBA, both on and off the court, in being an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.

Clarendon was recently re-signed by the Minnesota Lynx.

The Lynx announced on Saturday that the team would be re-signing guard Layshia Clarendon.

The move comes after Minnesota activated Aerial Powers on Friday, terminating Clarendon’s replacement contract. Powers has been out with a hamstring injury since May 26.

The terms of Clarendon’s new deal with the Lynx have not been disclosed. Clarendon has appeared in four games for Minnesota this season, averaging 11 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists.

The New York Liberty have waived Layshia Clarendon.

The move was spurred by Natasha Howard’s return to New York after playing overseas and winning a title with her Italian club. With Howard back on the Liberty, the team faced a dilemma of holding 13 players for 12 roster spots. Limited salary cap space meant a trade was essentially out of the question as well, leading the team to waive Clarendon.

Layshia Clarendon was originally drafted 9th overall by the Indiana Fever in the 2013 WNBA Draft. Clarendon joined the Liberty in 2020, recording a career-high 11.5 points per game in their first season with the team.

There is still the potential that another squad will pick up the veteran guard, but a signing would require additional roster shifts.