The WNBA sent a message that it will not allow players to make a statement on social issues by changing or covering their uniform, even prior to games. The Minnesota Lynx wore black shirts last week with the message "change starts with us" and the names of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, two black men who were shot and killed by police, which caused multiple Minneapolis police officers who were working the game to walk out in protest. The WNBA responded by sending a memo to teams to remind them of the league’s uniform policy, according to the AP.
A photo posted by minnesotalynx (@minnesotalynx) on
In the last week, members of Phoenix Mercury, New York Liberty and Indiana Fever wore plain black t-shirts prior to games in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and on Wednesday the WNBA announced that each team has been fined $5,000, and each player was personally fined $500.
A number of current and former WNBA players criticized the league’s decision on Twitter.
Update: Following Thursday’s Liberty-Fever game, Liberty players addressed the media in the locker room and announced that they would only take questions regarding social issues and the Black Lives Matter movement.
WAIT WHAT? They want athletes 2 speak up about issues yet fine them when they do Smh. I Hope ALL athletes take note.https://t.co/Nc7DpldlcJ