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.
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.
SOURCE: NBC News | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter, Instagram