WNBA Fines Players Protesting Police Violence
The WNBA has fined several players who have banded together in protest of the recent police-related shootings and the violent ambush of five Dallas officers this month. For the past week, players from three teams have worn Black shirts in solidarity with the victims of violence but the league has frowned against their silent political statements.
The AP reports:
The WNBA has fined the New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury and Indiana Fever and their players for wearing black warm up shirts in the wake of recent shootings by and against police officers.
All three teams were fined $5,000 and each player was fined $500.
The Liberty have worn the plain black shirts four times, including Wednesday morning against Washington. The Mercury and Fever wore them Tuesday night. While the shirts were the Adidas brand – the official outfitter of the league – WNBA rules state that uniforms may not be altered in any way.
“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 provided to The Associated Press on Wednesday night.
Phoenix Mercury player Mistie Bass has been outspoken about the fines and blasted the league for stunting her and her fellow players right to express their grief and support.
It truly is shameful that the league or any other major sports league would take the harsh steps of fining its players. The women in the league are already woefully underpaid as professionals so to fine them just seems a touch insulting. Apparently, protecting those advertisement and endorsement dollars is a bit more important than allowing players to peacefully express their free speech rights.