WNBA fines teams and players for speaking out against recent shootings
July 21, 2016 at 8:27 am
Just as NBA players are taking a stand against police brutality and gun violence, in the wake of recent shootings, WNBA players have done the same. But the WNBA players’ stance has come with a price tag. This week, the WNBA fined the New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury and Indiana Fever for wearing black warm-up shirts due to the shootings that involved police officers and against police officers.
The Minnesota Lynx were the first to start with the shirts by wearing black warm up shirts that read: “Change Starts With Us: Justice & Accountability” on the front, and had the names of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, alongside a Dallas PD emblem and the statement Black Lives Matter on the back. Then, the New York Liberty wore black warm up shirts that had #BlackLivesMatter and #Dallas5 printed on them. The WNBA released a memo to the teams reminding them of violations by altering uniforms. The New York Liberty then removed the words from their black warm-up shirts and just wore plain black warm up shirts. The WNBA still wasn’t pleased.
WNBA President Lisa Borders released a statement on the matter saying, “We are proud of WNBA players’ engagement and passionate advocacy for non-violent solutions to difficult social issues but expect them to comply with the league’s uniform guidelines.”
Of course, the players were not happy with this news.
— Mistie Bass (@A_Phoenix_Born) July 21, 2016
All three teams were fined $5,000 and each player was fined $500. Despite being fined and reprimanded for violating the uniform rules, one of the teams has reached a compromise with its players. The New York Liberty will wear plain black shirts that bear only the Adidas logo. Hopefully, the other teams will be able to reach a compromise without contradicting their message of social advocacy and activism.