WNBA Fines Teams, Players for Wearing Shirts Protesting Shootings

July 22, 2016 | Updated: 12:41 a.m., July 22, 2016

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Three WNBA teams, Indiana Fever, New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury, are being fined because of players wearing shirts in protest of recent U.S. shootings, according to Mashable.  Thursday the American women’s basketball league fined each team $5,000 and each player $500.  The WNBA sent out a memo reminding teams of the uniform policy.

Minnesota, New York, and Dallas players all wore shirts with slogans in remembrance of two men who were shot by police and the five Dallas police officers who were killed in an attack on July 7.

Earlier this month, New York players wore shirts with “#BlackLivesMatter” and “#Dallas5” on them. Minnesota players wore shirts with the slogan, “Change starts with us.”

New York players wore simple plain black shirts, something the team has done several times.

WNBA President Lisa Borders said Wednesday night in statement that the fines were about violating the uniform policy, not their stance.

“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,” Borders said.

Despite the decision not being personal but policy, many players were offended by the fines.

“What’s most upsetting is the way it was handled,” Indiana Fever player rep Briann January said. “You have a league that is 90 — if not above 90 percent African American — and you have an issue that is directly affecting them and the people they know and you have a league that isn’t willing to side with them. It’s not a race issue, not an anti-police issue, not a black or white issue. It’s a right or wrong issue.”