Maya Moore will sit out her second straight season to fight for criminal justice reform and the release of Jonathan Irons, who she believes was wrongfully convicted.
Moore is currently under contract with the Minnesota Lynx. She's considered a legend in the sport, having won four WNBA titles and two gold medals during her eight-year career. With this announcement, she will take herself out of contention for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“I’m in a really good place right now with my life, and I don’t want to change anything,” Moore told The New York Times. “Basketball has not been foremost in my mind. I’ve been able to rest, and connect with people around me, actually be in their presence after all of these years on the road. And I’ve been able to be there for Jonathan.”
Irons, 39, is serving a 50-year sentence for burglary and assaulting a homeowner with a gun in an incident that occurred 23 years ago. His lawyers told The New York Times that there were no corroborating witnesses, forensic evidence or physical evidence to connect Irons to the crime. However, the homeowner testified that Irons committed the burglary.
Irons, an African-American, was sentenced by an all-white jury.
A key piece of evidence for the state was a confession Irons allegedly made to a detective, admitting that he had broken into the house, but that could not remember anything else because he was drunk.
Irons has repeatedly denied ever making that confession. The detective did not testify at the trial because he was ill and has since died.
A local Missouri judge is currently considering whether the case should be reopened.