New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony is criticizing the WNBA for fining players over making Black Lives Matter statements.
In the wake of the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police, as well as the targeted killings of police officers in Dallas, WNBA players began wearing warm-up and after-game shirts commemorating the incidents. That prompted the league to send out a memo out reminding them of its uniform policy, to which players responded by wearing all-black shirts before games. The league still deemed this a violation, fining three teams and their players.
Late Thursday, Anthony said the WNBA was sending the wrong message.
“I don’t see no reason to fine them,’’ Anthony said before a men's U.S. Olympic team practice in Las Vegas, according to the New York Post. “If anything you should want to support them. I don’t know details, but don’t see a reason to fine them.”
Anthony recently wrote an impassioned Instagram post calling on athletes to speak out. He was also one of the four NBA stars to introduce the ESPYs with a speech amplifying his argument.
“Everyone has their own freedom of speech if they decide to use the platform," Anthony continued, according to the Post. "I don’t see no reason for anybody to get fined. We did it [3 ¹/₂ years ago after the Trayvon Martin shooting]. The NBA did it. The NBA was very supportive. I don’t see any difference in this matter. Right now the players have a very strong stance in what they believe in right now. I don’t think anyone should be fighting that at this moment.”
The Post also reported that Anthony is planning a closed-door meeting with community leaders to discuss justice issues.
"We want to get some of the local politicians," he said. "We want to get youth, kids, adults, officers, teachers, community leaders, and athletes just there having this conversation and this talk. Both sides hearing each other out.’’
WNBA players responded to the fines Thursday by staging a media boycott in which they refused to answer any question that did not relate to their statements about injustices.
Four WNBA games are scheduled for tonight before the league goes on hiatus for the Olympics.
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.