A small step in the right direction can lead to the biggest of change.
The WNBA has withdrawn its fines for teams that showed support of citizens and police involved in recent shootings by wearing black warmup shirts before games (pictured above).
WNBA President Lisa Borders said in a statement the league will rescind penalties given to participating teams and their players for wearing the shirts during pregame protests.
“All of us at the WNBA have the most utmost respect and appreciation for our players expressing themselves on matters important to them. While we expect players to comply with league rules and uniform guidelines, we also understand their desire to use the platform to address important societal issues. Given that the league will now be suspending play until August 26th for the Olympics, we plan to use this time to work with players and their union on ways for the players to make their views known to their fans and the public and we have informed the players that we are rescinding the recently-imposed fines.”
The New York Liberty, were fined $5,000 and players were each given $500 fines for violating WNBA uniform rules. The Indiana Fever and Phoenix Mercury also received those fines from the league.
The Liberty players wore matching black t-shirts, during warm-ups of a home game against the San Antonio Stars, that read #BlackLivesMatter” and “#Dallas5” on the front. The hashtags, according to the players were to show support to the ongoing efforts of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and a way to also show respect to the five policemen killed by a gunman during a protest in Dallas, Texas.
The Liberty wore plain black shirts four more times before receiving the fines from the league.
The penalties, however, appeared to only motivate the league’s players to turn the volume up on their efforts to raise awareness.
Players have used their platform in postgame interviews and through social media continued to gain the attention of the nation.
It appears the continued persistence of the players making their voices heard, through social awareness, is bringing about examples of positive progression.
“We commend Lisa Borders for recognizing how the players of the WNBA felt and the sensitive time that we’re living in and being willing to re-evaluate their decision,” New York Liberty President Isiah Thomas said. “We are also very proud of our players the world is seeing what we already knew. They’re truly incredible, thoughtful and talented individuals. Our league, our partners and our society are better because of our players’ willingness to enter the political and social activism arena.”