Washington, D.C. -- The WNBA has spoken, but their players aren't done yet. Following their win on Friday in Washington, league standouts Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike offered their take on the WNBA's decision to fine players for wearing black warm-up shirts in the wake of officer-involved shootings that occurred earlier this month.
On Thursday, the WNBA made the decision to fine the New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury and Indiana Fever franchises, as well as the players on each team. Each team was fined $5,000 while each player was fined $500.
So is the league choosing not to stand by its players? When posed the question, Ogwumike said, "That's what it appears."
"Everyone has their own opinion," she continued. "But for me, at the end of the day, it's about the ethical nature of everything. The reason why we wanted to do this or why we wanted to come out and express ourselves, as a lot of other athletes do, is because of what's going on in our world. And a majority of our league is African-American."
"I'm a little disappointed, because looking back, obviously in the NBA when separate players had made statements and worn shirts they were not fined," Parker said. "So I think definitely it's something we need to communicate about and figure out things, and you know, have open communication. I think that will help the situation."
Parker was referring to NBA Players such as LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kobe Bryant, and Carmelo Anthony wearing black t-shirts saying "I can't breathe" after the death of Eric Garner during the 2014-2015 NBA season.
Carmelo Anthony has already spoken out about the WNBA's decision, telling the New York Post, "I don't see no reason to fine them. If anything you should want to support them. I don't know details, but don't see a reason to fine them."
When asked if she thinks it's easier for players in the NBA to speak out, Parker said, "I don't want to say that it is because we preach equality, and we preach our league having similar standards as theirs. So I don't think it's fair to say that. I hope it's not the case."
Speaking about the fine on Thursday, WNBA President Lisa Borders said, "We are proud of WNBA players' engagement and passionate advocacy for non-violent solutions to difficult social issues but expect them to comply with the league's uniform guidelines."
And while they have now had to deal with backlash from the league, Ogwumike said she feels it's an important part of her role as an athlete to continue to speak out.
"I think it's very important because we play on a platform. A lot of people watch what we do...kids are watching. Whether you want to be a role model or not, you are. And I think that if you can come out and you can push any kind of positivity through your words, through your actions, through demonstrations, it's a wonderful platform as an athlete to be able to do that. And it's intrinsic in the nature of what you do."
There may be some debate between the league and its players about how athletes should express their views, but Ogwumike is not budging when it comes to standing by her fellow WNBA players.
"I stand by my constituents in the league. ... I stand by all of my fellow athletes for what they're doing. I think they're representing us very well, and we're going to support them no matter what. "