The WNBA has been in the news recently for it’s hard stance it took against it’s players standing up for a cause they believe in. The last few weeks have been full of players all over the league using their platforms both on social media and through the media to get their voices heard. Initially the league chose to fine the players uniform violations, the players took a responsible and professional stand and in the end their commitment to their beliefs won out. Below is the statement from WNBA President Lisa Borders:
While it’s great that the league came to it’s senses, it’s not necessary to give them the proverbial “pat on the back”. It should of never came to this, the league should have done the correct thing to begin with and stand with it’s players. Instead it entered into an awkward tug-of-war in the face of the public in a year in which the league should be celebrating. 20 years of the WNBA and the biggest story that has graced the timelines and eyes of casual or potential fans is this.
Athletes often get told to “shut up and play ball” and that’s typically male athletes who are bringing in far bigger pay checks than their female counterparts. The women stood together and were willing to sacrifice their pay because of their beliefs, something that must be admired and it won out in the end. It’s opened the door to a conversation, one they wanted to have with others, instead it’s with the league in which they proudly represent. The league in which some players get paid far less than when they play for their teams across the water in other leagues, which makes their decision to stand that much more impressive.
Hopefully the league and players will come to an agreement that will allow the players to express themselves freely over the second half of the season. From talking to players both on the Mystics and other teams, it was clear that they were committed to their beliefs regardless of the fines being rescinded or not. The league has a chance to do the right thing, join ranks with the players and go forward as one with the same vigor as they have with other causes.
It’s too early to celebrate, but it’s certainly a big step in the right direction. Still, it was a fight that shouldn’t of had to be fought for fines that should have never been levied. A wonderful show of solidarity from the players and a rash decision by a league that doesn’t need negative publicity.