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WNBA: We fly high, no lie

Basketball

March 02, 2022
STEVEN RYAN/GETTY IMAGES
STEVEN RYAN/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: As written in our recently launched sports business newsletter (subscribe for free, if you haven’t already), the WNBA recently slapped a reported record-high $500k fine on the NY Liberty after players flew charter five times during the 2021 season, a violation of the league’s CBA.

The details: Liberty executive Oliver Weisberg was also removed from the WNBA’s executive committee after the team exceeded the allowable compensation to players through these flight perks. You can’t make this sh!t up.

  • This punishment came after commissioner Cathy Engelbert reportedly “cut a deal” with Liberty owner Joe Tsai. The W originally threatened a $1 million fine, with punishments as extreme as taking away draft picks and even terminating the franchise being floated.

The bigger picture: Yes, rules are rules. The Liberty violated the league’s CBA, which is in place to help maintain parity in a growing league. But calling for investment in women’s sports then punishing a team owner for doing exactly that? That’s a tough one.