The WNBA has reversed its decision to fine the teams and players who wore black protest warm-up shirts saying “Alton Sterling,” ”Philando Castile,” “Black Lives Matter” and “Dallas 5,” ESPN reports.
WNBA President Lisa Borders said in a statement Saturday that the league was rescinding the $5,000 penalties given to the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury, as well as the $500 penalties levied against their players for wearing the shirts after police killed two black men on video: Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., and and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minn.
Some police officers covering the games walked off the job because of the shirts.
Players spoke out against the fines in postgame interviews and on social media, notes ESPN. Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks also voiced his displeasure with the fines.
“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.”
Borders also tweeted her support for the players.
“It’s a huge win overall," said Fever All-Star Tamika Catchings, who is president of the players union. “I’m really proud of the players standing strong and for utilizing their voices. Change starts with us. We have a social responsibility as well.”
Read more at ESPN.