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WNBA withdraws fines for player protests

  • FILE - In this April 14, 2016 file photo, Connecticut's Moriah Jefferson, right, and WNBA President Lisa Borders hold a San Antonio Stars jersey after Jefferson was selected with the second pick in the WNBA basketball draft in Uncasville, Conn. WNBA President Borders applauds the league's players for taking a stance on social issues. She just wishes the activism was kept off the court. Borders spent the past two weeks talking with the union and its executive council, trying to come up with ways that both the league and its players could constructively address the Black Lives Matters movement. Nothing concrete was decided. (Cloe Poisson/Hartford Courant via AP, File) Cloe Poisson

  • FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2009, file photo, Atlanta mayoral candidate Lisa Borders makes calls to supporters in her office at her campaign headquarters in Atlanta. WNBA President Borders applauds the league's players for taking a stance on social issues. She just wishes the activism was kept off the court. Borders spent the past two weeks talking with the union and its executive council, trying to come up with ways that both the league and its players could constructively address the Black Lives Matters movement. Nothing concrete was decided. (AP Photo/Johnny Clark, File) Johnny Clark

  • FILE - In this Wednesday, July 13, 2016 file photo, members of the New York Liberty basketball team await the start of a game against the Atlanta Dream in New York. The WNBA is withdrawing its fines for teams and players that showed support of citizens and police involved in recent shootings by wearing black warmup shirts before and during games. WNBA President Lisa Borders said in a statement Saturday, July 23, the league was rescinding penalties given to the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury and their players for wearing the shirts–which was a uniform violation. The players started wearing them to show solidarity after shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) Mark Lennihan

Published: 7/23/2016 11:50:47 PM

WNBA President Lisa Borders said in a statement Saturday the league was rescinding penalties given to the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury and their players for wearing black shirts during pregame protests, which began after shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, La.

Each organization was fined $5,000 and players were given a $500 penalty apiece because WNBA rules stated that uniforms may not be altered in any way. The normal fine for uniform violations is $200.

“While we expect players to comply with league rules and uniform guidelines, we also understand their desire to use their platform to address important societal issues,” Borders said. “Given that the league will now be suspending play until Aug. 26 for the Olympics, we plan to use this time to work with our players and their union on ways for the players to make their views known to their fans and the public.”

The fines seemed to galvanize the players, who have used postgame interview sessions and social media to voice their displeasure. There has also been public criticism of the fines, including from NBA star Carmelo Anthony.

The Rev. Al Sharpton said early Saturday his organization, the National Action Network, would pay the $500 fines. He called the penalty “unacceptable.”




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