By: Gus Wilson
On the first day of March, news broke in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). One of the 12 teams in the major women’s basketball league may no longer be able to compete in the league.
The New York Liberty, one of the original 8 teams from when the league was founded in 1997, hasn’t been successful as of recently. Since the 2018 season, the Liberty have had only 31 wins in 122 games they have played in the last four seasons. They are currently led by second-year point guard and former number one overall pick Sabrina Ionescu and shooting guard Betnijah Laney. While they are currently in the offseason, they have just received a WNBA record-setting fine.
The WNBA announced that New York Liberty will be fined a whopping 500,000 dollars for paying and flying on private chartered flights for their regular-season games. Under the current rules, “charter flights are banned to prevent competitive advantages”. During the WNBA Finals in the 2021 season, however, commissioner Cathy Engelbert paid for charter flights between Phoenix and Chicago for both teams. Despite these rules, Liberty decided to pay for these chartered flights for their team. Originally, the league office discussed a 1 million dollar fine, loss of draft picks, and termination from the league overall. Such drastic measures were not taken however, and a 500,000 dollar penalty was agreed upon.
Many players expressed on social media how ridiculous the record-setting fine was, as players in the NBA have private flights for every game. The league will address the idea of charter flights for each team during this offseason for years to come.