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Aliyah Boston Declined A Belated ESPYs Invite As ESPN Won’t Televise ‘Best College Athlete, Women’s Sports’

On Wednesday night, ESPN will host its annual awards celebration for the world of sports, the ESPYs, but the event will not feature a few prominent figures from the world of women’s sports.

Among the awards that were given out on Tuesday night’s preview show was “Best College Athlete, Women’s Sports,” with Oklahoma softball star Jocelyn Alo taking home those honors over a field that included South Carolina basketball star and Naismith Player of the Year, Aliyah Boston. Earlier in the week, Boston’s coach, Dawn Staley, took to Twitter to offer her frustration that the star wasn’t getting an invite to go to the awards ceremony in person, as ESPN cited COVID restrictions and a smaller venue — the 3,400 seat Dolby Theater in L.A. — as the reason they weren’t inviting the nominees from categories that weren’t being televised.

Considering ESPN will air a feature on the 50th anniversary of Title IX during the ESPYs, one would think they probably would’ve thought to include the “Best College Athlete, Women’s Sports” category on the telecast. The network found itself getting blasted by the women’s hoops world and beyond, and attempted to change course, offering a belated invitation to Boston to come to L.A. for the festivities. On Wednesday afternoon, Boston offered a public statement declining that late invite, explaining the hurt of the category not being televised (when it was a year prior) and calling them out for only changing course due to the social media outrage, saying it wasn’t surprising but is just the latest example of Black Women getting disrespected only for it to be brushed aside as a “mistake.”

Boston received tons of support for her powerful statement from around the sports world.