The WNBA fined the Phoenix Mercury, New York Liberty and Indiana Fever on Wednesday for violating the league's uniform policy by donning black Adidas shirts to protest the killing of black people at the hands of police.
In response, many players took to social media to express their outrage:
I've Heard the pain in the WNBA players voices! As @TheWNBPA VP I'm proud of your commitment to using your platform for change!❤️— Swin Cash (@SwinCash) July 21, 2016
Today, I decided to not be silent in the wake of the @wnba fines against @nyliberty, @indianafever & @phoenixmercury due to our support in the #BlackLivesMatter movement . 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 gives its support as it does for Breast Cancer Awareness, Pride and other subject matters.
We won't be silenced on an issue that so many players in the league identify with. The league should not be able to pick and choose what causes it allows to be supported and what won't. We as players know that the platform we have can not only raise awareness but also create dialogue and understanding, and we plan to use it. This is a very uncomfortable conversation, but it is one that NEEDS to be had. People must understand that Black Lives Matter has nothing to do with being more important than any other race, and ABSOLUTELY DOES NOT SUPPORT KILLING COPS. It has to do with the fact that black lives are being undervalued to the point that we are being killed at an alarming rate, without consequence. So have the conversation, get uncomfortable, but most importantly BE THE CHANGE
For the players who responded on social media, it appears as though the core issue is that the players believe the WNBA has not been consistent in its responses toward contemporary societal issues.
Clearly, this conflict is not just about a shirt.