Delle Donne wasn't a unanimous MVP decision, and Twitter lost its mind

  • Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne poses with the 2019 WNBA basketball most valuable player trophy at a news conference, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, in Washington.

    Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne poses with the 2019 WNBA basketball most valuable player trophy at a news conference, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, in Washington. Associated Press

Updated 9/20/2019 9:22 PM

The Twitter-verse can sometimes be cruel and relentless and mean-spirited.

Even sports, something that is supposed to be for fun, isn't immune.


Former Chicago Sky star Elena Delle Donne, now with the Washington Mystics, was named the most valuable player of the WNBA this week.

The award was well-deserved and I am happy for EDD, who I covered during her years here.

Delle Donne, one of the leading scorers in the league and a leader of the WNBA's best team during the regular season, received 41 of 43 first-place votes.

The other two first-place votes went to Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot, who for the second summer in a row broke the WNBA's season assist record.

Quite a few people on Twitter were ruthless in discussing the two people who voted for Vandersloot, claiming that those two people are "haters (of EDD)," "should have their votes permanently rescinded" and that they should "step away from the vodka."

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One tweet demanded that the WNBA should post "WHO voted against (EDD)," I guess so that direct attacks against the dissenters could justly ensue. Even a fellow awards voter, who is a well-known media representative, was publicly questioning the vote of the two Vandersloot supporters.

That was especially disappointing. I would not expect such a throwing-under-the-bus move by a colleague.

But this is the world we live in. This, for the most part, is Twitter.

And this is why I don't like Twitter, for sports, for politics, for anything. Tweeting is a required part of my job, but this is essentially why I tweet only sparingly and usually, I tweet only straight information.

Tweeting dissenting views, opinions that differ from the majority, isn't worth it. Those views are often criticized on Twitter with insults, they are often ripped apart with name-calling and they are often viciously attacked, sometimes with a pile-on, pack mentality.


Maybe I'm especially sensitive about this because I voted for Vandersloot for MVP.

No, I was not one of the two non-EDD voters (gasp!) for the WNBA-sponsored awards.

Usually, I do vote for the WNBA-sponsored awards, but I voted only for The Associated Press-sponsored awards this year. And for the AP awards, I voted for Vandersloot for MVP.

As much as I have admired Delle Donne's fabulous season, and as close as I was to voting for Delle Donne for MVP, I kept going back to something that many Sky players had told me during the regular season when explaining why they thought Vandersloot should be the league's most valuable player.

It's the way they defined "value."

Delle Donne is obviously valuable, but Vandersloot is valuable, her teammates say, in perhaps a different way, a way that isn't recognized as easily by statistics.

Yes, Delle Donne averaged more points (19.5 to 11.2) and rebounds (8.3 to 4.3) than Vandersloot. But Vandersloot had the assists hands down (a league-leading 9.1 to 2.2) and was really the engine that drove the Sky all season: running the offense, putting her teammates in position to be successful, making her teammates better, leading a team that had struggled the last two seasons back to the playoffs this summer.

"If you're really talking about value, the player who adds the most value to her team, it's got to be Courtney," Vandersloot's teammates would say. "We wouldn't be the same team without her at all. She makes every single player on this team better."

Both Delle Donne and Vandersloot led their teams to the playoffs, and yes, Delle Donne's Mystics are still alive, and a favorite to win the WNBA championship. Vandersloot and the Sky are out.

But one could argue that Delle Donne had a bit more to work with this season, a bit more talent around her, which likely made her life on the court just a little bit easier as well.

Remember, Delle Donne and the Mystics were in the WNBA Finals just last season and were the best team in the league all summer. Obviously, there is a massive amount of talent in Washington besides Delle Donne.

One could also argue that while Vandersloot did her own job well and also worried about getting her teammates involved this season, Delle Donne, for the most part, just had to worry about doing her thing. Points and rebounds, and lots of them. Big numbers.

Numbers are important. Improving your teammates is important.

But what is most important? What is most valuable?

See, one could argue and argue and argue the merits of both Delle Donne and Vandersloot round and round. But whether you're on one side of the argument or the other, why must your views be expressed in a negative tweet that tears down another person?

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, even, ideally, on Twitter.

Just because that opinion differs from yours and from the majority doesn't make it wrong, or attack worthy.

That being said, I better get ready for the "Twitter-cism."

That's Twitter-speak for "criticism."

I'm sure it's coming. Sigh.

• Twitter: @babcockmcgraw

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