The Toronto Raptors caught the fury of online progressives after the team posted a Women’s History Month video, in which players were accused of saying something deeply offensive — that women are the only ones that can procreate.
On March 1, the Raptors’ official Twitter account shared a video in which players answered the prompt, “Beyoncé said girls run the world. Why do you think that’s true?”
Point guard Malachi Flynn responded that women “are the only one that can procreate,” while center Precious Achiuwa said, “They birth everybody.”
The online backlash was swift. The Raptors deleted the original video, but not before it was saved and widely shared on social media.
Molly Morrison, online basketball media personality and social media team member for Bleacher Report took to Twitter to express her disapproval. “saved this before the raptors inevitably deleted,” Morrison tweeted, “a new candidate for the who-the-hell-approved-this-sports-team-account-tweet hall of fame”
Sports outlet Deadspin tweeted that the Raptors’ video was “tone deaf.”
The Toronto Raptors had to issue an apology for posting a video in support of Women’s History Month because it stated woman are the only ones that can procreate.
You literally can’t make this up. https://t.co/d4fvfibICj
— Adam Kuhn (@IamAdamKuhn) March 3, 2023
Jeanna Kelley, an NFL columnist and editor for SB Nation slammed the video as “terrible” on Twitter and told her followers they could support women by donating to a fund that would provide menstrual products to “people who need them.”
Others criticized the Raptors for deleting the video instead of standing behind the players’ claim that only women can have babies.
“Soft as butter @Raptors apologising because one of their players said only women can procreate, during Women History Month!” former NBA player Andrew Bogut tweeted. “I’ll say it for you. Only WOMEN can have babies. Media: Not triggered or angry, laughing at how stupid this ideology is! ” Bogut added.
Delano Squires, a fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, also took the Raptors to task for deleting the video, though he said he wasn’t sure what motivated the team to remove it. “Not sure if the team apologized because they think ‘men’ can get pregnant or because they think players focusing on procreation is too reductive.” Squires tweeted, “Either way, the @Raptors are SOFT. Men built the arena they call home and women birthed EVERY SINGLE PERSON who attends their games.”
The Raptors offered their own explanation in a statement quoted Thursday in the Toronto Sun.
“We’re an organization that prides itself on doing the right thing when it comes to inclusion and representation, and we made a mistake,” the statement read. “Our sincerest apologies to our players, our staff and our fans – we’ll work to do better today and every day after.”