WNBA fines New York Liberty $500,000 for using chartered flights to road games: report
The league’s collective bargaining agreement states that teams are to fly commercial to road games, and players must receive “premium economy” seating if available. But beginning in August, the Liberty traveled to road games on chartered flights.
The New York Liberty were fined $500,000 for violation of the WNBA’s collective bargaining agreement for repeatedly chartering flights for the team, according to a report from Sports Illustrated.
The league’s CBA states that teams are to fly commercial to road games, and players must receive “premium economy” seating if available. But beginning in August, the Liberty traveled to road games on chartered flights.
The team also took a trip to Napa Valley, California, last September in direct violation of the CBA that exceeded the allowable compensation to players.
When the league discovered the violation, it discussed possible punishment for the franchise that included a $1 million fine.
According to a communication reviewed by the magazine, the WNBA and its general counsel also discussed stripping team of “every draft pick you have ever seen” to suspending ownership, and even threatening to terminate the franchise entirely.
The $1 million fine was reduced on appeal and a team executive was removed from the league’s executive committee.
The Liberty, one of the three original franchise of the WNBA still in existence, made a proposal to make charter flights the standard for travel for all teams. But it didn’t get to the support it needed for approval.
The franchise has continued the push forward to make accommodations better for their players.
According to the report, Liberty alternate governor Oliver Weisberg wrote a letter to the league wondering why the league was discouraging better treatment for its players.
“We cannot begin to talk about gender equity until we solve some pressing issues that have put extra burdens on the health and well-being of WNBA players,” the letter read. “In the spirit of improving working conditions for our female athletes, we are of the strong belief that WNBA teams should be permitted to arrange travel that is consistent with the fact that they are professional athletes.”
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