WNBA rescinds fines for black warmup shirts
Published 6:00 am Sunday, July 24, 2016
NEW YORK — The WNBA is withdrawing its fines for teams and players that showed support of citizens and police involved in recent shootings by wearing black warmup shirts before and during 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 — which was a uniform violation. The players started wearing them to show solidarity after shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Each team 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.
“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 Aug. 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.”
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.”