The WNBA is worried its athletes face 'dangerous situations' while playing overseas

Natasha Howard of the Minnesota Lynx guards against Jantel Lavender of the Los Angeles Sparks in the 2016 WNBA Finals.
(Image credit: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

The Women's National Basketball Association is equipping its athletes with a mobile app so players can "ask for help and receive help in dangerous situations or threatening environments" overseas, WNBA President Lisa Borders told The Associated Press. "This was a proactive effort to protect our players and secure their personal safety," Borders said. "Our partner in this endeavor is LiveSafe. It has multiple features and functionality."

During the WNBA offseason, the league's 60-plus players travel abroad to compete in nations such as Russia, Turkey, and China. Last year, the Indiana Fever's Marissa Coleman left an area near the Blue Mosque in Istanbul just moments before a deadly suicide bombing.

The app "will allow the players to communicate directly with the league and its security team," The Associated Press reports, adding that LiveSafe can also send notifications "similar to what one might get from the State Department." Borders clarified that the app was not a response to a specific threat but rather the fact that "we live in a complicated time."

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"These young women are some of the best athletes in the world," Borders said. "They are citizens of that same world. They experience cultures and conflicts in the world. We always want to make sure they are safe. They are our primary stakeholder in the league."

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Jeva Lange

Jeva Lange was the executive editor at She formerly served as The Week's deputy editor and culture critic. She is also a contributor to Screen Slate, and her writing has appeared in The New York Daily News, The Awl, Vice, and Gothamist, among other publications. Jeva lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.