The WNBA has come under fire recently for some sanctions they imposed on the New York Liberty. The team’s owners, Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai, reportedly chartered flights for the team last season. This, apparently, was in violation of the league’s collective bargaining agreement. As a result, the Liberty nearly got their franchise revoked.

Speaking a few days after the incident, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert stated that while she would want for chartered flights for every team, the league isn’t ready to take on that role yet due to financial reasons. (via Sports Illustrated)

“It would be more than $20 million a year to fund charter flights for an entire WNBA season,” Engelbert told ESPN in an interview. “… We’re not going to jeopardize the financial health of the league and be irresponsible… If we can get it funded by sponsors and supporters, great, but that’s not where we are. We do not have that.”

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The lack of chartered flights for WNBA teams has been a strong talking point for a long time now. It’s been pointed out as part of the many reasons why the league hasn’t grown amongst professional women’s basketball players. Now, though, it’s been thrust into the spotlight, as the Liberty were fined a record $500,000 for chartering flights for their teams.

Casual fans are confused as to why the WNBA is fining the owners for taking care of their players. These are valid questions, and while Engelbert’s reasoning makes sense, it’s not a reason to punish the owners. In fact, they should be applauded for taking the initiative and doing what the league can’t for them.