We were honored to have Cappie Pondexter as one of our special guests at the inaugural Athlete Ally Action Awards. Now we’re proud to announce that Cappie has become our latest Pro Ambassador.
Cappie currently plays for the WNBA’s New York Liberty. She made her league debut in 2006, after a stellar college basketball career at Rutgers University. A perennial WNBA All-Star, the WNBA Finals MVP in 2007, and chosen by fans as one of the top-15 WNBA players of all time, Cappie joins fellow WNBA stars Erlana Larkins, Jayne Appel, and Karima Christmas, among others, as a Pro Ambassador dedicated to bringing respect and inclusion to the game.
We spoke with Cappie about what being a Pro Ambassador means to her, and how she practices allyship on the court.
Q: You attended the Athlete Ally Action Awards in New York City and accepted the award given to the WNBA, which was honored for its LGBT Pride initiative. What was your takeaway from that night, meeting so many athletes and fans–both LGBT and straight–who all have such a commitment to making sports a welcoming place?
A: That night gave me a sense of peace knowing that Athlete Ally’s commitment to bridging the gap of equality in sports has grown tremendously. It is empowering to see the organization’s continued support for the LGBT community.
(Cappie Pondexter at the Athlete Ally Action Awards, with honoree Jason Collins. Photo by Alyssa Greenberg.)
Q: Why do you think it is important for players to be vocal on LGBT acceptance and inclusion in women’s sports?
A: It is important for so many reasons, but I think being vocal about LGBT acceptance and inclusion gives others the courage to speak up and be who they truly are, while generating awareness about the LGBT community.
Q: Respect is an important value in sports and in acceptance of the LGBT community. How did you learn the value of respect as a young player, and how do you try to instill it as a leader on the Liberty today?
A: I learned lessons about respect at an early age from my mother. As you grow and mature, your level of understanding and valuing respect also expands. As a leader, you have to be the one who makes sacrifices so that others can see you as an example. I pride myself on giving respect so I can be respected as well.
Q: As a member of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and New York Liberty, you’ve played much of your career in the New York area. You also play overseas in Australia. Have you gotten a sense of how cultural attitudes toward LGBT acceptance are different outside of the US?
A: I’ve been blessed to travel all over the world, and one of the things I do is take time to learn about different cultures. Every country I have been fortunate to visit is different, but it’s important that we continue to spread the message of equality and acceptance. Those two things are very important to me. No matter where we go in life, we all want to feel welcomed.