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When WNBA star Maya Moore first met her now husband, Jonathan Irons, their relationship was strictly platonic. Things changed after she helped to get his wrongful conviction overturned, and the happy couple recently tied the knot.
“We wanted to announce today that we are super excited to continue the work that we are doing together, but doing it as a married couple,” Moore told Good Morning America on Wednesday (Sept. 16). “We got married a couple months ago and we're excited to just continue this new chapter of life together.”
Catch us tomorrow on @GMA with @RobinRoberts! #winwithjustice pic.twitter.com/0z1B1RRS2b
— Maya Moore (@MooreMaya) July 2, 2020
Irons was 16 years old when he was tried as an adult and falsely convicted by an all white jury and sentenced to 50 years for a burglary and shooting. He maintained his innocence throughout, but he would have never been convicted had the case been handled properly. Aside from being wrongfully identified in a lineup, fingerprint evidence that could have proved his innocence was withheld from his lawyers. After serving 23 years for a crime he did not commit, Irons' conviction was overturned in March.
Moore, 31, has known Irons, 40, since she was 18 years old. The two met through a prison ministry program and their relationship slowly transitioned from a friendship to romance. Irons confessed his love for Moore while incarcerated at Missouri's Jefferson City Correctional Center. “I wanted to marry her but at the same time protect her because being in a relationship with a man in prison, it's extremely difficult and painful. And I didn't want her to feel trapped and I wanted her to feel open and have the ability any time if this is too much for you, go and find somebody. Live your life. Because this is hard.”
He popped the question in their hotel room following his prison release. “It was just me and her in the room and I got down on my knees and I looked up at her and she kind of knew what was going on and I said, ‘will you marry me,’ she said, ‘yes.’”
Moore, a small forward for the Minnesota Lynx, is taking a break from basketball and has been working alongside her husband to encourage people to vote. The newlyweds also plant to advocate for others who have been wrongfully convicted.
See more on their love story in the video below.
Vanessa Bryant came to LeBron James’ defense after Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva challenged the NBA star to donate $175,000 in reward money to help catch the suspect who shot two officers in Compton last weekend.
“This challenge is to LeBron James,” Villanueva said on Monday (Sept. 14). “I want you to match that and double that reward. Because I know you care about law enforcement, you expressed a very, very interesting statement about your perspective on race relations and officer-involved shootings and the impact it has on the African American community and I appreciate that.”
Taking to her Instagram Story on Monday, Vanessa tagged James in a reposted a comment that read: “He shouldn’t be challenging LeBron James to match a reward or ‘to step up to the plate.’ He couldn’t even ‘step up to the plate’ and hold his deputies accountable for photographing dead children.” The statement was in reference to deputies taking photos at Kobe Bryant's crash site. The grieving widow also reposted another comment reading, “How can he talk about trusting the system? His sheriff’s dept. couldn’t be trusted to secure Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash scene, his deputies took and shared graphic photos of crash victims. Vanessa Bryant is suing them.”
In January, Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, died in the tragic plane crash along with seven other victims. According to Vanessa’s lawsuit, Villanueva assured her that the crash site had been secured.
“In reality, however, no fewer than eight sheriff's deputies were at the scene snapping cell-phone photos of the dead children, parents, and coaches,” the claim states. “As the department would later admit, there was no investigative purpose for deputies to take pictures at the crash site. Rather, the deputies took photos for their own personal purposes.”
The NBA has postponed all three playoff games scheduled for Wednesday (Aug. 26) after several players went on strike over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. The Milwaukee Bucks were first to refuse to play their scheduled game against the Orlando Magic.
“The past four months we’ve witnessed multiple injustices regarding the African American community,” the Bucks said in a team statement. “Citizens around the country have used their voices and platforms to speak out against these wrongdoings.”
The statement goes on to speak about Blake being “shot in the back seven times” by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and demonstrators being shot during a protest against police brutality on Tuesday (Aug. 24).
“There has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball. When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable. We hold ourselves to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from our lawmakers and law enforcement.”
In closing, the team demands that the officers involved in shooting Blake be held accountable, and that the Wisconsin State Legislature reconvene “after months of inaction” and take measure to accurately address police accountability, brutality, and criminal justice reform. The statement also encouraged everyone to vote on Nov. 3
The Milwaukee Bucks have boycotted Game 5 of their First Round series vs. the Orlando Magic this afternoon.
The team provided the following statement: pic.twitter.com/ul5rMlitlS
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) August 26, 2020
LeBron James also took to Twitter with a message demanding change.
FUCK THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 26, 2020
It’s unclear if Thursday’s games — between the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz, and the L.A. Clippers vs. the Dallas Mavericks — will be postponed. Wednesday's games between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets had to be rescheduled, as well as the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Portland Trail Blazers. The Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors discussing a potential boycott, ESPN reports.
TNT’s Kenny Smith walked off set in a show of solidarity. “I think the biggest thing now as a Black man, as a former player, I think it’s best for me to support the players and just— not be here tonight.”
Incredible TV moment as Kenny walks off pic.twitter.com/CsMTL08x4c
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) August 26, 2020
Fellow TNT commentator Chris Webber got emotional while speaking about the players decision to strike. “I’m here to speak for those that are always marginalized. Those who live in these neighborhoods where we preach and tell them to vote and walk away,” said the retired NBA player.
“It is the young people leading the way and I applaud them.” @realchriswebber delivers a powerful message in support of the NBA players. pic.twitter.com/KVCUINw8Vx
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) August 26, 2020
The NBA players’ refusal to take the court comes a month into the restart of the NBA season, which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Players have been living in the NBA-created “bubble” in Florida as a precautionary measure to stop the spread of the deadly virus.
Blake, a 29-year-old father of three, was left paralyzed after being shot in the back at close range by a Kanoga, Wisconsin police officer last Sunday. He was breaking up an altercation at the time.
Multiple protests have been held in Kanoga since the shooting.
Three people were shot, two fatally, during a protest on Tuesday. Video footage from the incident shows a white man shooting at a crowd before casually walking by throngs of police patrol cars with a semi-automatic hanging at his side. The shooting suspect, Kyle Rittenhouse, was arrested in Illinois on Wednesday. He is being held without bond.