WNBA fines teams, players for shirts supporting shooting victims
Three WNBA teams and several players have been fined for wearing black warmup shirts in support of the victims of recent shootings, according to the Associated Press.
The teams—the New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury and Indiana Fever—were each fined $5,000 and the players were docked $500 each.
The shirts were branded with the league’s official uniform supplier’s logo, but teams are not allowed to alter their uniforms.
“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,” WNBA president Lisa Borders said in a statement.
The Liberty first wore shirts with two hashtags “#BlackLivesMatter” and “#Dallas5,” honoring both the victims of recent shootings by police and the police officers killed in a shooting in Dallas. They later switched to a plain black shirt.
Liberty center Tina Charles responded to the fine by tweeting “I refuse to be silent” accompanied with a photo of her wearing the shirt.
She also addressed the situation in an Instagram post.
“Seventy percent of the WNBA players are African-American women and as a league collectively impacted,” Charles wrote. “My teammates and I will continue to use our platform and raise awareness for the #BlackLivesMatter movement until the WNBA fives its support as it does for Breast Cancer Awareness, Pride and other subject matters.”
Today, I decided to not be silent in the wake of the @wnba fines against @nyliberty, @indianafever & @phoenixmercury due to our support in the #BlackLivesMatter movement . Seventy percent of the @wnba players are African-American women and as a league collectively impacted. My teammates and I will continue to use our platform and raise awareness for the #BlackLivesMatter movement until the @wnba gives its support as it does for Breast Cancer Awareness, Pride and other subject matters.
Earlier this month, Minnesota Lynx players wore shirts that said “Black Lives Matter” and “Change starts with us, justice and accountability.” Four Minneapolis police officers left their jobs as arena security in response.
In December 2014, players from the Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets, including LeBron James, wore black shirts with the phrase “I Can’t Breathe.” The display came after a grand jury declined to indict a New York police offer who placed a man named Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold. Garner was seen on video telling the officer “I can’t breathe.”
The NBA did not fine the players.