The WNBA has fined three teams and several other players wearing outfits which indicated their solidarity with the victims of the recent shootings.
According to ESPN, New York Liberty, The Indiana Fever and Phoenix Mercury were fined $5000, whereas the players received a fine of $500 each for dressing in an Adidas black T-shirts with imprinted hashtags referencing victims of the recent shootings by and against the police. The WNBA explained that the action of the players violated the uniform policy; which stated that uniforms are not to be altered in any way.
The president of WNBA, Lisa Borders in an attempt to protect the position of the league, released a statement to the AP saying, “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.”
The WNBA is punishing players for wearing t-shirts honoring shooting victims because they violated uniform policy https://t.co/KiuTJ4X6Wd
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Tina Charles of Liberty Center said that she couldn’t hold here peace anymore, especially after watching the recent video of Charles Kinsey, an unarmed therapist who was shot by a North Miami cop while he laid in the street with his arm outstretched. She subsequently expressed her displeasure about the fines in an Instagram post: “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 fives its support as it does for Breast Cancer Awareness, Prise and other subject matters.”
The Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings also added her voice by saying that “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.” Some players say this will not deter them from speaking up. They said they will continue to protest by wearing black warm-up shirts inside out.
Public figures do not only hold a right to freedom of speech but also have a moral obligation to show support for their fans. They also have a social responsibility to create awareness and draw the required attention towards problems in the society. In view of this, these compassionate women deserve general approval and not a punishment.
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