The Mystics wore “Black Lives Matter” shirts on Friday after their game against the Los Angeles Sparks and refused to answer questions about the X’s and O’s surrounding the game. The move was in response to the WNBA fining the New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury, and Indiana Fever, and all of their players for wearing altered warm up gear.
Other teams including the Seattle Storm also participated in the Media Blackout in support of fellow teams that were sanctioned.
With multiple teams protesting with black shirts and taking part in the Media Blackout and with the Olympic Break looming, I expected a quick resolution with the fines. It’s not a good feeling to have bad PR like this settle for a month while the Olympics are going on.
That resolution came on Saturday when WNBA President Lisa Borders rescinded them:
Appreciate our players expressing themselves on matters important to them. Rescinding imposed fines to show them even more support.— WNBAPrez (@WNBAPrez) July 23, 2016
.@WNBAPrez, Lisa Borders statement on recent team and player uniform violation fines. pic.twitter.com/RJMZHQ0htL— WNBA (@WNBA) July 23, 2016
Also, with the Olympics upon us, it is certainly possible that the USA Basketball women’s national team (and the men’s team too) could be more vocal about it during friendlies with warm ups, etc. Women’s national team head coach Geno Auriemma acknowledged that in a column written by Doug Feinberg of the Associated Press.
Multiple people in Monumental Sports and the media praised the Mystics for their actions in support of other teams. Tweets and Instagrams are embedded below:
July 23, 2016
Proud of the players across our league, their unity and their thoughtfulness. Particularly proud of our own @WashMystics players last night.— Eric Thibault (@ET_hoops) July 23, 2016
Huge fan of @wnba. I take my kids to @WashMystics. This is a big deal to me, in terms of supporting league https://t.co/FZYwyWYcKX— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) July 23, 2016
So much respect for these women @WNBA @WashMystics #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/uuws47K4uI— Etan Thomas (@etanthomas36) July 23, 2016
Regardless of the issues of police brutality and where you stand on it, we often look up to athletes and other celebrities on them. Charles Barkley may have stated he was the contrary, but really, all athletes are role models.
To that end, I can appreciate the fact that athletes are willingly taking the lead to stand up for things they are passionate about in a peaceful manner.