Over the course of the past few weeks, WNBA players have taken it upon themselves to shed light on inequality and police brutality. The ladies of the Minnesota Lynx professional basketball team took to the court in early July wearing all black Adidas t-shirts that read “Change Starts With Us.” These shirts caused quit a stir after the Minnesota police officers overseeing the game walked off the job.
Following the team’s lead were the New York Liberty, who displayed #BlackLivesMatter and #Dallas5 written on their warmups to protest violence as well and shortly after the Phoenix Mercury and Indiana Fever joined in wearing all black shirts before their game to show support. As the protest for peace grew stronger, so did concern from league officials and league President Lisa Borders.
The WNBA put out a memo stating that teams were no longer allowed to wear black warmup shirts and each team involved in the uniform violation would be fined $5K and each individual player would be fined $500 for improper attire.
Borders released a statement stating that she is proud of her players for taking a stand, but cannot allow them to continue to alter their uniform without penalty.
Each team is given specific gear to play and warm up in. Due to the fact that these shirts are not official WNBA attire, they violate league regulations. WNBA players were not very happy with the fines and took to Twitter to express their frustrations.
After careful consideration, the WNBA decided to reverse all fines allocated amongst the teams violating uniform policy. Border took to Twitter stating, “Appreciate our players expressing themselves on matters important to them. Rescinding imposed fines to show them even more support.”
The Washington Mystics and Los Angeles Sparks have also joined the movement, but still players refused to comment during post game media interviews. Very brave of these young ladies to start a movement within their sport that peacefully supports and protects equal rights for all.