By Kevin B. Blackistone Columnist March 18, 2020 at 7:35 a.m. PDT
As this novel strain of coronavirus reminded us in the past few days just how insignificant sport can be, one of our most accomplished athletes was holed up somewhere near a maximum security prison in mid-Missouri experiencing, instead, how important sport could be. For a 40-year-old inmate, sentenced as a 16-year-old to 50 years for assault with a deadly weapon and burglary never supported by physical evidence, was given word earlier this month that he was quite likely about to be set free. And it was because his case was illuminated by the spotlight of sport.
“It [Jonathan Irons’ release] can’t happen until the attorney general’s office responds to Judge [Daniel] Green’s ruling,” basketball star Maya Moore cautioned to me recently from her hometown of Jefferson City, Mo., “so we’re a little discouraged after finding that out. But there’s a 15-day time frame that the state has to decide if they’re going to fight against the ruling of the judge. So after that, we’ll be able to work on the process of getting Jonathan released.”
And maybe Moore will resume her throne in the WNBA — bejeweled with an MVP, six all-star appearances and four league championships — that she abdicated before the 2019 season tipped off to fight for Irons’ freedom. Imagine that.
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