WNBA Fines Teams and Players For Anti-Violence Warmup Shirts

by July 21, 2016
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UPDATE: Members of the New York Liberty and Indiana Fever staged a media blackout after Thursday’s game at Madison Square Garden.

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Three WNBA teams—the Phoenix Mercury, New York Liberty and Indiana Fever—were fined for wearing black t-shirts in the wake of recent police shootings.

The teams were fined $5,000 each, and players lost $500 from their paycheck, the AP reports.

According to the WNBA’s uniform policy, warmup shirts may not be altered in any way.

The news drew the consternation of WNBA players, who called out the league for issuing Pride t-shirts after the Orlando nightclub massacre, but not allowing players to make a stand against police violence.

The Minnesota Lynx and NY Liberty were the first to take a stand, wearing warmup shirts with the names of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, along with the Dallas Police Department shield.

The Lynx only wore their shirts once. The Liberty switched to plain black shirts, which they’ve worn before their last four games. Phoenix and Indiana wore black shirts on Tuesday.

After issuing the penalties, WNBA President Lisa Borders said in a statement that the league is “proud of WNBA players’ engagement and passionate advocacy for non-violent solutions to difficult social issues.”

As you might expect, players were not pleased with the President’s statement.