WNBA fines Liberty, players for declining interviews after Finals loss

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Friday, October 20, 2023

The WNBA on Thursday fined the New York Liberty $25,000 after some of their players declined media interviews following the team's loss to the Las Vegas Aces in the clinching game of the WNBA Finals.

Liberty players Sabrina Ionescu, Jonquel Jones and Betnijah Laney also were fined $2,000 each by the league for turning down media requests for interviews.

According to WNBA rules, each team's coach and two players must attend the postgame news conference, and additional players requested by the media are required to be available in a different location.

The Aces were not fined for violating league policy. Several players crashed the postgame news conference as Finals MVP A'ja Wilson was answering a question. After briefly joining in on a song, Wilson asked for silence and resumed with her answer.

The Professional Basketball Writers Association released a statement Thursday saying it was "extremely disappointed" by the Liberty players' refusals, which "adversely impacted efforts to capture a critical moment in league history."

"We're concerned that this incident is part of a broader, growing disconnect between the WNBA, its players and the professional journalists who dedicate themselves to telling the stories of this league," the statement said. "We at the PBWA hope this moment can serve as the starting point for a renewed dialogue between our members, league officials and the WNBPA."

Las Vegas defeated New York 70-69 in Game 4 in New York to clinch its second championship in a row. The Liberty's Courtney Vandersloot missed a shot as time expired that would have extended the series to a winner-take-all Game 5 in Las Vegas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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