The WNBA hasn’t seen this type of coverage since…well, ever.
One of the WNBA’s biggest franchises got hit with a record $500,000 fine for chartering private flights for players during the 2021 season. New York Liberty team governors Joe and Clara Wu Tsai chartered the flights and that violated the WNBA’s bargaining agreement, per Howard Megdal of Sports Illustrated.
WNBA general counsel Jamin Dershowitz reportedly threatened the “termination of the franchise” and the loss of “every draft pick you have ever seen” in response to the flights that were chartered for every road game during the season’s second half.
Gabrielle Union thinks the WNBA’s decision is a joke and a step backwards in the fight for equality in sports.
“This sounds ass backwards and an open desire by some owners to MAKE SURE that women athletes don’t have the same advantages as male pro athletes,” Union tweeted. “A damn shame. 3 years of private flts for the entire league and still there’s an issue?!?! Make it make sense.”
As Bleacher Report shares, flight chartering in the WNBA has been an ongoing conversation, with the Liberty previously pushing for it to become standard for team journeys.
“I think what charter flights represent in the world of sports is it gives you a little bit of validation,” Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird said in February. “It’s saying that your league is so successful, it has the finances to charter flights, which is incredibly expensive. There’s not many businesses that just charter flights left and right. … So I think for a lot of us, it would just be an indicator of that. It’d be an indicator of financial success.”