As the third player from her team to join Athlete Ally, Indiana Fever point guard Briann January is the latest WNBA athlete to vocalize her support for LGBT inclusion in sport. January is an alumni of Arizona State University, and was selected as the 6th overall pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft. She has also spent time volunteering as an assistant coach for the Adelphi University Women’s Basketball team, helping lead the squad to the NCAA Tournament in the 2013-2014 season.
“LGBT inclusion in sports matters because athletics should serve as a platform for young people to develop confidence and develop as individuals, and this is only possible in a supportive environment. Sports are a unique area that provokes positive experiences and moments of joy, and that is a right that should belong to all people,”January said. “Negativity and lack of inclusion will discourage the participation of those possibly interested in sports, and stunt the growth of young athletes currently working at their craft. Acceptance will allow athletes to embrace their sports without tension or shame and I believe many will absolutely flourish in the light of that.”
January is part of a Fever team that’s looking to build on its 2012 WNBA Championship under legendary head coach Lin Dunn, who is a member of the class of 2014 inductees into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
“This cause is important to me because I know what a tremendous impact sports have had on my life and I would never want any child to be discouraged from participating in a sport for such an terrible reason,” January continued. “For me, the support and positivity of my coaches and teammates throughout the years have made me the player and person I am today. Sports can change your life, they certainly changed mine, and I believe every single person should have the equal right to that opportunity.”
Athlete Ally now has seven WNBA players on its roster of pro Ambassadors.