Sometimes, doing the right thing comes with major consequences.
WNBA teams the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty, and Phoenix Mercury learned that lesson the hard way after being fined by the organization for wearing black warm-up shirts in the wake of recent shootings by and against police officers.
The teams were fined $5,000 and each player was fined $500 as the shirts violated the league’s uniform policy. Although the players were taking a stand against current injustices and police brutality, WNBA rules state that uniforms may not be altered in any way.
Indiana Fever player rep Briann January stated: “What’s most upsetting is the way it was handled. You have a league that is 90, if not above 90 percent African-American, and you have an issue that is directly affecting them and the people they know and you have a league that isn’t willing to side with them.”
January continued, “It’s not a race issue, not an anti-police issue, not a black or white issue. It’s a right or wrong issue. When the thing in Orlando happened the league saw the NBA backed it and we went all in. Nobody had any question. They knew it was a right or wrong issue. This is a very similar thing. It’s really disappointing the league isn’t having our back on this one.”
WNBA President Lisa Borders released a statement, claiming the fines were not about the players speaking out on a social issue. She said, “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.”
After the Minnesota, New York, and Dallas teams all wore shirts in remembrance of Philando Castille, Alton Sterling, and the five Dallas police officers who were killed, the league sent out a memo to the teams reminding them of the uniform policy.
SOURCE: ESPN | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter