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WNBA Withdraws Fines for Players Who Supported #BlackLivesMatter on Court

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The WNBA withdrew its fines for players who wore T-shirts supporting #BlackLivesMatter and recent victims of police shooting and their teams, the Associated Press reported Saturday.

WNBA president Lisa Borders confirmed the league's action. "Appreciate our players expressing themselves on matters important to them. Rescinding imposed fines to show them even more support," she tweeted.



 




Players for the New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury and Indiana Fever wore altered Adidas warmup T-shirts that included tributes to victims in the Dallas shootings of police as well as the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police officers.

Fines of $5000 for teams $500 for players were levied for violations of WNBA rules that state uniforms may not be altered in any way. The normal fine for uniform violations is $200.

During the a Minnesota Lynx home game against the Dallas Wings in July, four off-duty police officers working security walked out because the team wore that had the phrase "Change starts with us — Justice & Accountability," on them. They were not fined. 

Borders issued a longer statement explaining the decision.



"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 August 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."

"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.''


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