L.A. Sparks Star Candace Parker Throws Weight Behind Anti-Fur Campaign
Candace Parker embodies athleticism, beauty and grace in her roles as Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) star, young mother, and corporate spokesperson. Now, she has decided to use her attributes on behalf of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in a campaign discouraging the use and purchase of fur coats.
“I feel very passionate about the fur campaign for PETA,” says Parker. “I really feel like it’s very cruel what [fur businesses] do to animals. … Animals don’t have a voice, so people have to speak for them.”
In the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals ad, Parker poses with her beloved rescue dog Fendi, a St. Bernard mix. Ironically, Fendi shares a name with one of the world’s largest furriers, though that was not the reason for the dog’s name. “She’s high maintenance, so she’s a designer purse,” Parker explained.
The ad copy next to the picture of Parker and Fendi reads, “If you wouldn’t wear your dog, please don’t wear any fur. The only difference between our ‘best friends’ and animals killed for their fur is how we treat them.”
Parker first gained national attention when she won the slam dunk contest at the 2004 McDonald’s High School All America game, beating several future National Basketball Association (NBA) players. She then became the first woman to dunk in an NCAA tournament game and the second woman to dunk (after Lisa Leslie) in a WNBA game.
She is much more than a novelty dunk machine. Parker also led the University of Tennessee to consecutive NCAA titles in 2007 and 2008, won a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics, and was the top pick in the 2008 WNBA draft. Her scoring and rebounding averages have led the Sparks since she joined the team.
Then, as if to prove she can deliver off the court as well, she and her husband, former Duke star Shelden Williams of the Boston Celtics, welcomed daughter Lailaa Nicole Williams into the world in May 2009.
According to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals website, animals killed for their fur endure tremendous pain and suffering. Foxes, minks, and rabbits—and even dogs and cats—are bludgeoned, stomped, electrocuted, and often skinned alive. Undercover investigations reveal that animals struggle and scream in pain as workers rip the skin off their writhing bodies.
The 6-4, 175 pound Parker wanted to flex her muscles as part of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ anti-fur campaign because, she says, “I really feel like it’s very cruel what they do to animals, and I love my dog and couldn’t imagine anybody harming her.”
She joins a growing list of athletes and other celebrities—including Tony Gonzalez, Amar’e Stoudemire, Ron Artest, Dennis Rodman, Eva Mendes, and Charlize Theron—who have starred in People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ ad campaigns.
In an era in which athletes are criticized for not taking a political stand, remember the stand that Parker is taking for a cause she supports. Not only is she a beautiful baller, she is beautiful baller with a brain.
Hirsch is a contributing writer for Regal Black Men’s Magazine.