Tag: Phoenix Mercury

WNBA President Lisa Borders Withdraws Player Fines Regarding Anti-Violence Shirts

WNBA President Lisa Borders (photo via nytimes.com)
WNBA President Lisa Borders (photo via nytimes.com)

article via espn.go.com

NEW YORK — The WNBA has withdrawn its fines for teams and players who showed support of citizens and police involved in recent shootings by wearing black warm-up shirts before games.

WNBA president Lisa Borders applauds the league’s players for taking a stance on social issues. She just wishes the activism was kept off the court.  Borders said in a statement Saturday that the league was rescinding penalties given to the Indiana Fever, New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury and their players for wearing the shirts during pregame protests, which began after shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“While we expect players to comply with league rules and uniform guidelines, we also understand their desire to use their platform to address important societal issues,” Borders said. “Given that the league will now be suspending play until August 26 for the Olympics, we plan to use this time to work with our players and their union on ways for the players to make their views known to their fans and the public.”

Borders also tweeted her support for the players.

Each organization had been fined $5,000 and players were each given a $500 penalty because WNBA rules state that uniforms may not be altered in any way. The normal fine for uniform violations is $200.

The fines seemed to galvanize the players, who have used postgame interview sessions and social media to voice their displeasure. There has also been public criticism of the fines, including from New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony.

“It’s a huge win overall,” said Fever All-Star Tamika Catchings, who is president of the WNBA players’ union. “I think more than anything I told [Borders] at times you’re going to agree to disagree. With this, I’m really proud of the players standing strong and for utilizing their voices. Change starts with us. We have a social responsibility as well.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton said early Saturday that his organization, the National Action Network, would pay the $500 fines. He called the penalty “unacceptable.”

The Liberty wore the plain black shirts four times, including Wednesday against Washington. Indiana and Phoenix donned the shirts Tuesday night before their nationally televised game.

“We commend Lisa Borders for recognizing how the players of the WNBA felt and the sensitive time that we’re living in and being willing to re-evaluate their decision,” Liberty president Isiah Thomas said. “We are also very proud of our players; the world is seeing what we already knew. They’re truly incredible, thoughtful and talented individuals. Our league, our partners and our society are better because of our players’ willingness to enter the political and social activism arena.”

The fines were administered Wednesday, and neither the Fever nor the Liberty wore the shirts at their matinee game Thursday. Tina Charles did wear her warm-up shirt inside-out in honor of a shooting in Florida that morning.

Charles said she was happy that the league rescinded the fines. She has donated her entire salary this year to her charity — Hopey’s Heart Foundation — so the withdrawn fine means more money that will help buy automated external defibrillators.  Still, she said it was “embarrassing” that the players had been fined in the first place.

To read full article, go to: http://espn.go.com/wnba/story/_/id/17131967/wnba-withdraws-fines-regarding-anti-violence-shirts

Brittney Griner to Break Ground Modeling Men’s Clothing for Nike

Brittney Griner (NBA Photos/Getty Images)
Brittney Griner (NBA Photos/Getty Images)

From Clutch Magazine: Nike is appealing to its consumer base of who wear mens clothing through its newest spokesperson, Brittney Griner. Griner, the 22 year-old number one draft pick for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, will model menswear for the brand.

ESPN reports: ”Griner’s deal is within this range; what makes it groundbreaking is the freedom. She will wear apparel branded as menswear, including the skateboarding line Nike SB, and she is allowed to pursue nontraditional marketing deals with outside companies.”

Wearing mens clothing is a natural fit for the 6’8″ basketball player, who is the first openly-gay athlete to sign with Nike. She says: “I used to do the whole baggy, hard-core, I’m-a-boy look. Then I went through a preppy phase. Now I have the athletic, bow-tie look. I found my style.”

ESPN writer Kate Fagan recognizes the significance of Nike and Griner’s decision, saying: “Androgynous models are coveted in high-end fashion, but the trend toward gender-neutral clothing has only just begun to reach the sports world, with NBA stars Russell Westbrook and Dwyane Wade blurring the lines in their tight jeans and fitted sweaters.”

Read the rest of this story at Clutch Magazine.

Obama Honors First Time WNBA Champ Indiana Fever

President Barack Obama (C), listens to coach Lin Dunn (R), speak during an event to honor the reigning WNBA champion Indiana Fever, at the White House, June 14, 2013 in Washington, DC. President Obama welcomed the team to the White House to celebrate their 2012 title. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama (C), listens to coach Lin Dunn (R), speak during an event to honor the reigning WNBA champion Indiana Fever, at the White House, June 14, 2013 in Washington, DC. President Obama welcomed the team to the White House to celebrate their 2012 title. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama honored the WNBA champion Indiana Fever on Friday, calling the players role models for young athletes — even those on his daughter Sasha’s basketball team. The team captured its first title last October, defeating the Minnesota Lynx 87-78 and bringing home Indiana’s first basketball title since 1973.

Obama said the Fever’s season was an inspiration for basketball fans everywhere, including his daughter, whose team he sometimes coaches. He pointed out that the Fever came into the playoffs as underdogs and had lost to the Lynx during the regular season, then rallied to take the championship.

“For her to have wonderful role models like this who work hard and know how to play like a team, are incredibly poised, are competitors but also show good sportsmanship, that’s the kind of models you want for your children,” Obama said.

Continue reading “Obama Honors First Time WNBA Champ Indiana Fever”

Brittney Griner No. 1 Pick by Phoenix Mercury in WNBA Draft

Brittney Griner, left, shakes hands with WNBA President Laurel J. Richie after the Phoenix Mercury selected Griner as the No. 1 pick in the WNBA basketball draft, Monday, April 15, 2013, in Bristol, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Brittney Griner, left, shakes hands with WNBA President Laurel J. Richie after the Phoenix Mercury selected Griner as the No. 1 pick in the WNBA basketball draft, Monday, April 15, 2013, in Bristol, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) — Brittney Griner left an indelible mark on women’s college basketball. Now she’s ready to take on the pros.  The Phoenix Mercury took Baylor’s star center with the top pick in the WNBA draft Monday night. Despite knowing she was going first, the two-time AP Player of the Year admitted she was extremely nervous.

“It’s a dream come true, I’m like a little kid in Disney World the first time meeting all the characters,” Griner said. “Sitting at the table they said 15 seconds and my heart started beating so fast. I was grabbing the tablecloth underneath.”

The 6-foot-8 phenom finished as the second all-time scorer in women’s NCAA history, with 3,283 points. She is the top shot-blocker ever, shattering both the men’s and women’s college marks with 748. She also had a record 18 dunks — including 11 this season.  WNBA president Laurel Richie opened the draft offering the league’s thoughts and prayers to those affected by the bombings in Boston. She said earlier in the evening that the WNBA had discussions whether to hold the draft, deciding to go ahead with it.

And then soon after the draft started she announced Griner as the first choice.  

Continue reading “Brittney Griner No. 1 Pick by Phoenix Mercury in WNBA Draft”