WNBA Withdraws Fines From Teams And Players In Protest With Black Lives Matter

Rucuss staffJuly 25, 2016

The WNBA has rescinded its decision of fining players and teams that showed support for the Black Live Matter movement.

WNBA President Lisa Borders announced the news in a statement on Saturday. The teams that received penalties were the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury. Players wore T-shirts that violated their uniform policy.

Each team who participated in the protest, was fined $5,000 and players were given a $500 penalty because WNBA rules state that uniforms may not be altered in any way, according to USA Today. The hefty penalty the players received for wearing the shirts was $300 more than the normal $200 fine.

The women began wearing their shirts in protest after Alton Sterling and Philando Castille were fatally shot multiple times by police officers in Baton Rouge and Minnesota. The T-shirts, which read “change starts with us: justice and accountability” on the front, also named of Alton and Philando, as well as the logo for the Dallas police department, in commemoration of the five police officers who were shot during a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Texas.

“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 organization’s retraction on the fines and penalties, and Border’s statement comes only after the players refusal to stop protesting. Many of the teams affected used their post-game interview sessions to continue to speak on the importance of the Black Lives Matter Movement and their displeasure with police brutality.

“We commend Lisa Borders for recognizing how the players of the WNBA felt and the sensitive time that we’re living in and being willing to re-evaluate their decision,” Isiah Thomas, President of the New York Liberty, one of the teams affected by the fines, said. “We are also very proud of our players the world is seeing what we already knew. They’re truly incredible, thoughtful and talented individuals. Our league, our partners and our society are better because of our players’ willingness to enter the political and social activism arena.”

NBA players Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Lebron James also showed support for the movement by publicly speaking out during the 2016 ESPYS.

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