The WNBA is gathering ‘additional information’ after Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner was harassed at an airport. Following the incident, the league released a statement calling player safety a “top priority”.
The league one full statement read:
“As we gather additional information about today’s incident at Dallas Airport, it has come to our attention that it was orchestrated by a social media figure and provocateur. His actions were inappropriate and unhappy.
“The safety of Brittney Griner and all WNBA players is our top priority. Prior to the season, the WNBA worked with the team at Phoenix Mercury and BG to ensure her safety during her trip, which included charter flights to WNBA games and assigned security personnel with it at all times. We remain firmly committed to the highest standards of player safety.”
Mercury forward Brianna Turner gave some insight into what happened at the Dallas airport. She said the team suffered “excessive harassment” and “were nervously cowering in a corner not knowing how to move”.
Turner ended his tweet by saying, “We deserve better.”
The WNBPA agreed. The union released its own statement on Saturday, urging the league to introduce charter flights for all games.
This statement said:
“As we continue to hear from our members throughout the start of the season and particularly today with the situation involving the Phoenix Mercury at Dallas Airport, we are abundantly clear that the issue of charter travel n is NOT a matter of “competitive advantage” We can’t help but wonder if the league and teams are ruling out more reasonable and flexible charter travel rules in 2023 in order to leverage this issue to the table. of negotiation.
“What BG and all of his PHX teammates went through today was a calculated confrontation that left them very much in danger. Everyone who was paying attention knew this could happen. We could and should have been more proactive.
“Allowing the team to fly on charter is ONLY for the health and safety of the players, and until the league and the teams take this issue seriously, situations like this will continue to happen.
“Every commercial flight imposed on our players is a threat to their health and safety. We implore the league and the teams not to wait another day to change the travel rule.”
Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, also called on the WNBA to implement charter flights and “enhanced security measures for all players.”
In April, the WNBA expanded its charter flight schedule to include playoffs and back-to-back games. The league banned teams from paying for charter flights out of pocket because it viewed them as a competitive advantage.
Prominent WNBA players, such as Breanna Stewart, lobbied for the WNBA to charter all of the team’s flights. WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said it would cost about $25 million a year and suggested the price was too high for the league.
This story will be updated.