Reminding us that athletes have a long history of making powerful political statements in our culture, and demonstrating, once again, that women athletes are incredible forces of nature, the New York Liberty and Indiana Fever have continued their protests in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, despite previous fines.
Earlier this week, the Liberty and Fever, as well as another WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury, were punished for not wearing their uniforms, and instead wearing black t-shirts proclaiming support of #BlackLivesMatter, recent victims of police shootings Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the five police officers killed in Dallas.
After using their voices to protest and publicly mourn these deaths, the WNBA fined each team $5,000 and each individual player who participated in the action was fined $500.
Yesterday, the Liberty and Fever played their first game together since being fined, and fearlessly continued to speak out against racism and police brutality. Tina Charles, a forward for Liberty and an amazing athlete, was announced as the WNBA Player of the Month and was to publicly receive her award after the game. She accepted her award, but refused to don her uniform. Instead, she wore her black warm-up clothes inside out.
You definitely need to see her Instagram post explaining her actions:
Her caption reads:
“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.”
The protest didn’t end there. Both teams refused to speak to the press about basketball in their locker rooms after the game, and instead made statements about only taking questions related to the roots of their protest. Watch Liberty’s amazing full statement here.
And then watch Tamika Catchings, a forward for Indiana Fever, tell a reporter why she will only use her voice to discuss the protest: