A GROUP of female basketball players fined for donning uniforms emblazoned with the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ staged a protest after a game last night (July 21).
Players from the New York Liberty and Indiana Fever, two of the teams that received the fines from the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), refused to take questions about any subject other than Black Lives Matter, and the WNBA’s response to their protests.
“We feel like America has a problem with the police brutality that’s going on with black lives around here, and we just want to use our voices and use our platform to advocate for that,” the Liberty’s Tanisha Wright said according to Deadspin.
“Just because someone says ‘Black Lives Matter’ doesn’t mean that other lives don’t matter. People put out this imaginary ‘black lives only matter’ whenever people say, ‘Black lives matter.’ What we’re saying is, ‘Black lives matter, too.’ Period.”
The protests began when players, from The Indiana Fever, New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury, wore shirts commemorating Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, two black men that were killed by police officers, and the Dallas Police Department, who lost five officers after a gunman shot them dead following a rally, during warm-ups and after games.
That prompted the league to issue a memo this week warning that the shirts were in violation of its uniform code, which in turn prompted players to wear all-black shirts, at which pointed the league began handing down fines.
All three teams were fined $5,000 and each player was fined $500 as the shirts violated the league’s uniform policy. While the shirts were the Adidas brand — the official outfitter of the league — WNBA rules state that uniforms may not be altered in any way.