In March, Maya Moore called Jonathan Irons as supporters reacted after a judge overturned Irons' convictions in a 1997 burglary and assault case. AP photo
If it seems the path Maya Moore has been following the past few years has suddenly made her a leader, well, she does, too.
Moore is the Lynx star who put her career on hold prior to the 2019 season to fight to take up the cause for Jonathan Irons in particular and the injustices of the judicial system in America in general. She recently helped get Irons' conviction on burglary and assault overturned, a decision still tied up in the appeal process.
Moore and Seattle safety Malcolm Jenkins were on a Time 100 Talks discussion Tuesday, one moderated by ESPN columnist Pablo S. Torre. Like Moore, Jenkins has been at the forefront talking about the need for change, the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement. They both have supported the concept of defunding the police and the need to use the current climate to push for substantial change.
It appears Moore's work in recent years has put her in a strong position to talk about such matters.
"My faith is at the core of everything I do,'' she said. "God had me moving in a direction ahead of time. To be ahead of things, to be a helpful voice.''
She said as she got involved with Irons' case she immersed herself in the issues of a justice system she felt needed change. As such, in a spring and summer of protest inspired by the death of George Floyd, Moore said she hoped she could provide a helpful voice.
"I feel I have a sense of authenticity,'' she said.
Both Moore and Jenkins said recent polling saying support for the Black Lives Matter movement is encouraging. But both agreed the next step was real reform.
Among them is redefining how policing is done in America. To Moore, the term defunding when it comes to police doesn't mean devalue. Her idea is that police departments should focus on core duties while funds are made available for other entities to handle things like mental health and community building.
She used a sports analogy to make her point. Right now the police are like a star player on a team trying to do everything on a court while accomplish little. The key is that player focusing on their strengths while allowing teammates to do the same. "I know it sounds silly, because lives are at stake, to put it in sports terms,'' Moore said.
But the key, Moore said, is the desire to reform the process is not an attack. "You can be better, we can better,'' she said. "And we have to if we're going to win.''