WNBA lifts fines on players, teams for uniform violations

0:40 | WNBA
WNBA president talks about fining players over warmup shirts
Saturday July 23rd, 2016

Your teams on the go or at home. Personalize SI with our new App. Install on iOS or Android.

The WNBA has lifted the fines given to three teams and several players for wearing black warmup shirts in support of the victims of recent shootings, it announced on Saturday.

“All of us at the WNBA have the utmost respect and appreciation for our players expressing themselves on matters important to them,” league president Lisa Borders said in a statement. “While we expect players to comply with league rules and uniform guidelines, we also understand their desire to use their platform to address important social issues.”

The league also said it will be working with players over the Olympic break on finding ways to express their views to fans.

Earlier in the week, the teams—the New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury and Indiana Fever—were each fined $5,000 and the players were docked $500 each for wearing the shirts. 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.

• Carmelo Anthony organizing forum to discuss police shootings

The WNBPA released the following statement:

Before the announcement came down from the league office on Saturday, Borders said that she preferred players who speak out on social issues keep it off the court

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.

• Minneapolis mayor criticizes police union head over Lynx comments

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.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.