May 9, 2019;  New York City, NY, USA;  Taiwanese business Joseph Tsai high fives the New York players after the preseason WNBA game against the China National Team at Barclays Center.  Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

WNBA chartered flights ‘scandal’ shows long history of inequity

May 9, 2019;  New York City, NY, USA;  Taiwanese business Joseph Tsai high fives the New York players after the preseason WNBA game against the China National Team at Barclays Center.  Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

This had nothing to do with money.

Last week, the WNBA fined the New York Liberty a whopping $500,000 for using chartered flights for its players during the second half of the 2021 season, all paid for by team owners Joe and Clara Wu Tsai.

Contrary to popular belief, this fine was not because the Liberty was siphoning money from the league or its big brother — the NBA.

It is true that the average WNBA team with its own profits cannot afford luxuries like chartered flights and five-star hotels on the road. Heck, the teams can’t afford their own arenas. Nearly every WNBA team shares a court with their NBA or G-League counterpart or with a local university.

The league has been very frugal with its money, and rightfully so. But when an individual franchise wants to treat its athletes like the professionals they are out of its own pockets, who is the WNBA to tell them that they can’t?

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