Aliyah Boston appears to have won almost every women’s college basketball award possible after a historic season in which she led the South Carolina Gamecocks to a national title.
ESPN, which owns the rights to the NCAA Division I women’s basketball tournament, recognized the achievement by nominating her for an ESPY award — but declined to invite her to the ESPYs in person or air her category.
The “snub” sparked major outcry on social media — with strong words in particular coming from Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley.
In response, ESPN reportedly said in a statement that Boston didn’t get an invitation because her category wouldn’t be televised, and the network wanted to ensure athletes who could be on the broadcast could attend given COVID restrictions.
“We have the utmost respect for Aliyah Boston, Dawn Staley, and the South Carolina Gamecocks,” ESPN said.
The network belatedly invited Boston, as she noted in a social media post on Wednesday, but she wasn’t about to give the network a pass.
“While it hurt finding out that they wouldn’t be televising the category despite it being televised last year, and had no intentions for me to attend…it hurt even more to see ESPN change course and invive me only after social media caught wind of it,” she wrote.
“I’m used to this. It’s just another moment when the disrespect and erasure of Black women is brushed off as a ‘mistake’ or an ‘oversight.’”
Boston declined to attend.