WNBA withdraws fines for player protest shirts

NEW YORK — The WNBA has withdrawn its fines for teams that showed support of citizens and police involved in recent shootings by wearing black warmup shirts before games.

WNBA President Lisa Borders said in a statement Saturday the league was rescinding penalties given to the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury and their players for wearing the shirts during pregame protests, which began after shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Each organization was fined $5,000 and players were each given a $500 penalty because WNBA rules stated that uniforms may not be altered in any way. The normal fine for uniform violations is $200.

WNBA prez backs ‘off-the-court’ social activism

WNBA President Lisa Borders applauds the league’s players for taking a stance on social issues. She just wishes the activism was kept off the court.

  • Can WNBA players really count on the league’s support?

    The WNBA usually takes pride in promoting its players’ activism. But how players can support the conflict between police and black communities is causing internal conflict in the league itself.

  • “While we expect players to comply with league rules and uniform guidelines, we also understand their desire to use their platform to address important societal issues,” Borders said. “Given that the league will now be suspending play until August 26 for the Olympics, we plan to use this time to work with our players and their union on ways for the players to make their views known to their fans and the public.”

    Borders also took to Twitter to express her support for the players.

    The fines seemed to galvanize the players, who have used postgame interview sessions and social media to voice their displeasure. There has also been public criticism of the fines, including from NBA star Carmelo Anthony.

    The Rev. Al Sharpton said early Saturday his organization, the National Action Network, would pay the $500 fines. He called the penalty “unacceptable.”

    Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

    comments powered by Disqus