Atlanta Dream guard Renee Montgomery says she will sit out the 2020 WNBA season and work on off-court initiatives, becoming the first WNBA player to publicly say she won’t play since the league and union announced an agreement Monday on a proposal for the season to start in July in Florida.
“There’s work to be done off the court in so many areas in our community,” Montgomery tweeted Thursday morning. “Social justice reform isn’t going to happen overnight, but I do feel that now is the time and Moments equal Momentum. Let’s keep it going!”
Montgomery has raised money to help protesters and support the Black Lives Matter movement. The St. Albans, West Virginia, native will continue that and do speaking engagements in the Atlanta community and beyond.
The WNBA is scheduled to have a 22-game season followed by standard playoffs ending in October. The Women’s National Basketball Players Association voted on the league’s proposal, which includes 100% of the players’ salaries, and 77% of the union’s members approved of it.
It’s expected other players will choose, like Montgomery, to sit out the season for various reasons. Players already have received two paychecks this season.
“While I am saddened Renee will not be in a Dream uniform this summer, I am incredibly proud of her passion for her foundation, her outreach in the community and her chance to impact the Black Lives Matter movement with her platform as a WNBA athlete,” coach Nicki Collen said.
Said Dream president and general manager Chris Sienko: “We are disappointed Renee will not be contributing on the court this season, but her assistance to the community is extremely significant and will help bring attention to important causes. We fully support Renee’s off-the-court efforts and know that she can help facilitate change in Atlanta and around the globe.”
Montgomery was the No. 4 draft pick out of UConn in 2009, when the Huskies won the NCAA title. She has played 11 WNBA seasons and averaged 9.7 points and 3.1 assists per game. She won championships with Minnesota in 2015 and 2017 and has played the past two seasons with the Dream, where she has started all 68 games and made 146 3-pointers.