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Commentary: feigning interest in black female athletes is not enough

Reigning NCAAW Player of the Year Aliyah Boston was not invited to the famous ESPN award show and the category of best female collegiate athlete was not shown.

Paige Bueckers, the star point guard of the UConn women's basketball team -- the most covered women's team by all traditional media -- earned the "Best College Athlete, Women's Sports" award at the ESPY Awards in 2021, ESPN's famous summer award show.

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In her acceptance speech, she said, "With the light that I have now, as a white woman who leads a black-led sport, and is celebrated here, I want to shed a light on black women. They don't get the media coverage that they deserve."

One year later, a black woman, in the same exact category was ignored.

Aliyah Boston, the NCAA women's basketball player of the year, was nominated for the same award this year, but was left off of the invite list by the network. 

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She was only invited -- and rightfully declined -- once her head coach Dawn Staley posted about the blunder on social media.

This incredible mishap goes much further than an RSVP. The network made an enormous emphasis this year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Title IX, yet made the deliberate decision, from the get-go, not to air a category that directly benefited from the legislation.

It's clear that corporations and media giants spent the past year patting themselves on the back for celebrating women, and specifically black women, without ever truly doing the work.

Once the commercials were made, and once the calendars were flipped, the celebration was done and it was back to business as usual, until the next anniversary or the next controversy comes along.

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