The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) has issued fines to three teams and their players for breaking league rules after they wore black t-shirts to show support for the Black Lives Matter.
The league charged three teams $5,000 each and also levied fines of $500 each on the players. Fined were the New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury and the Indiana Fever.
The fines were meted out for breaking league rules maintaining that uniforms cannot be altered in any way without prior permission.
Despite the fines, the Indiana Fever and New York Liberty conducted a protest on Thursday that involved a refusal to answer basketball-related questions in favor of speaking out on Black Lives Matter. Liberty forward Tina Charles accepted a player-of-the-month award with her team-issued warmup gear turned inside-out.
The WNBA issued a statement commending the players for their “passionate advocacy.”
“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 on Wednesday.
Indiana Fever All-Star Tamika Catchings criticized the league’s decision.
“Instead of the league taking a stance with us, where they tell us they appreciate our expressing our concerns like they did for Orlando, we’re fighting against each other,” she said.
Others insisted that the black t-shirts in support of Black Lives matter wasn’t an anti-cop statement.
“It’s not a race issue, not an anti-police issue, not a black or white issue. It’s a right or wrong issue,” Indiana Fever player rep Briann January insisted.
The fine came only after the league sent an official letter to the teams reminding them of the uniform rules. The league only acted after many ignored the letter and again indulged their homage to Black Lives Matter.
Despite the punishment, though, player rep January warned that they will likely continue to flaunt the rules to support the race-pushing Black Lives Matter movement.
“I think there’s a lot of people in our league who are very passionate about it. As a player rep we are going to continue having these conversations,” January said. “The timing of them releasing the statement and giving us the papers was very timely on their part.”
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