WNBA Fines Teams, Players for Protesting Violence By and Against Cops

By Sameer Rao Jul 21, 2016

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) fined three teams and their players for breaking league rules by wearing warm-up shirts meant to protest police brutality. 

We reported last week about actions taken by New York Liberty and Minnesota Lynx players; in both instances, players wore black shirts with white lettering honoring Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the five police officers killed in Dallas. The Associated Press reported that those actions, as well as one by Dallas Wings players who wore shirts comemorating the fallen officers, prompted the league to send teams a reminder memo about the league’s uniform policy earlier this week.

Phoenix Mercury, Indiana Fever and Liberty players then switched to wearing plain black Adidas warm-up shirts—a move that prompted the league, despite their Adidas partnership, to fine each of those teams $5,000 and charged the involved players $500. 

"We are proud of WNBA players’ engagement and passionate advocacy for nonviolent 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.

The fines prompted Mercuy player Mistie Bass to tweet the following criticism:

(H/t The Dallas Morning News)