In an effort to stand behind players who decide to speak on social justice issues, the WNBA announced plans to rescind the $500 fines against players from the New York Liberty, Indiana Fever, and the Phoenix Mercury, according to NBC News.
League president Lisa Borders announced the decision via Twitter on Saturday after being faced with mounting pressure as the nation turned a watchful eye on the subject surrounding work policies, censorship, and police brutality.
Tensions between players and the organization rose throughout the month of July after the Minnesota Lynx wore black shirts stitched with the words, “Change starts with us. Justice & Accountability,” written in white on the front.
On the back were the names of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, two Black men shot at the hands of police, as well as the Dallas police shield to honor the five officers killed a day after Castile. The words “Black Lives Matter” were scrawled beneath the shield’s emblem.
After the Lynx made national headlines, other players followed suit and wore similar shirts with the hashtag, “Black Lives Matter.”
In response, the league sent out a memo reminding players of rules regarding uniform violations. Players continued with their silent protest against league wishes and were slapped with a fine, including a $5,000 penalty against participating teams.
On Thursday at a post-game news conference, the Liberty and Fever refused to take questions on any subject other than Black Lives Matter.
Tamika Catchings, president of the players’ union, issued a statement. Frustrated at the organization’s decision to fine players, especially after the WNBA openly supported the victims of the Orlando Pulse shooting, she said:
“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.”
Other players like the Liberty’s Tina Charles vented their frustration on social media, impassioned by their platform to speak out on social justice issues.
Today, I decided to not be silent in the wake of the @wnba fines against @nyliberty, @indianafever & @phoenixmercury due to our support in the #BlackLivesMatter movement . Seventy percent of the @wnba players are African-American women and as a league collectively impacted. My teammates and I will continue to use our platform and raise awareness for the #BlackLivesMatter movement until the @wnba gives its support as it does for Breast Cancer Awareness, Pride and other subject matters.
Many other athletes have also stepped up, lending their voices to the issue of police brutality incited by a call from NBA star Carmelo Anthony.
First off let me start off by saying " All Praise Due To The Most High." Secondly, I'm all about rallying, protesting, fighting for OUR people. Look I'll even lead the charge, By Any Means Necessary. We have to be smart about what we are doing though. We need to steer our anger in the right direction. The system is Broken. Point blank period. It has been this way forever. Martin Luther King marched. Malcolm X rebelled. Muhammad Ali literally fought for US. Our anger should be towards the system. If the system doesn't change we will continue to turn on the TVs and see the same thing. We have to put the pressure on the people in charge in order to get this thing we call JUSTICE right. A march doesn't work. We tried that. I've tried that. A couple social media post/tweet doesn't work. We've all tried that. That didn't work. Shooting 11 cops and killing 5 WILL NOT work. While I don't have a solution, and I'm pretty sure a lot of people don't have a solution, we need to come together more than anything at this time. We need each other. These politicians have to step up and fight for change. I'm calling for all my fellow ATHLETES to step up and take charge. Go to your local officials, leaders, congressman, assemblymen/assemblywoman and demand change. There's NO more sitting back and being afraid of tackling and addressing political issues anymore. Those days are long gone. We have to step up and take charge. We can't worry about what endorsements we gonna lose or whose going to look at us crazy. I need your voices to be heard. We can demand change. We just have to be willing to. THE TIME IS NOW. IM all in. Take Charge. Take Action. DEMAND CHANGE. Peace7 #StayMe7o
SOURCE: NBC News | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter, Instagram