Cheryl Reeve is as good as her word.
The Lynx general manager and coach pledged last week to keep social justice issues on the front burner even as the WNBA prepares to get back to work. And so, in a Zoom conference call with local media Thursday, she did.
She noted how Maya Moore’s work and sacrifice is finally being understood. She talked about the news that former Lynx guard Renee Montgomery had decided to take a year off to work on social justice issues.
“This is at the forefront of our minds,” Reeve said. “Playing basketball is what we do. The other part of us is wanting to make the world a better place for everybody.”
Reeve was asked if she would stop having Minneapolis police help with game security when basketball returns to Target Center. Reeve noted that, though she’d be in favor of such a move, the team might not have that power because the arena is owned and operated by the city of Minneapolis.
And then she took on Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis. Saying the union had become a “safe haven” for aggressive cops, she called for change.
“If we don’t have change at the top, this won’t get better,” she said. “The biggest step we can make right now is we cannot accept Bob Kroll as the leader.”
And then, later: “The culture is rotten. And we’ve got to cut off the head of the snake to make real progress.”
There is history. In 2016, after the shooting death of Philando Castile, the Lynx donned Black Lives Matter T-shirts before a home game, prompting officers providing security to walk off the job. Kroll supported their decision and was critical of the Lynx organization.
There was some basketball talk, too:
• Asked if she was worried about the league preparing to play at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., because of the spike in coronavirus cases in Florida, she said assistant general manager Clare Duwelius and head athletic trainer Chuck Barta went down for a site inspection.
“Every decision made is about safety, the integrity of the clean site,” she said. “I will be stressing this with the group. For this to be successful and as safe as possible, we can’t be dismissive or lax. The only thing I’ll say is we won’t be out and about.”
• On the 22-game season, Reeve said: “You can’t lose a week. That’s three games. From a competitive situation, this will be pretty interesting.”
• Playing without fans? The Lynx will lose one of the better home court advantages in the league. But? “Once the ball gets tossed up, and we’re going, we’ll just be competing,” Reeve said.
• The overall positive, Reeve said, is that the game is returning. “We’re going to be playing basketball,” she said. “From a players’ standpoint, that’s going to be big.” One key, she said, is getting as many games as possible on national television. “This could be an interesting way to grow our business,” Reeve said.