The memo reads, in part, “Between rounds, Teams will have the option to charter from the home market or directly to Game 1 of the following round (only one route permitted, not both). Therefore, teams will need to plan their own commercial flight)s) if and when necessary, depending on their choice.”
What this essentially means is that despite making a public commitment as recently as last month, the WNBA has scrapped the plan that it promoted for the entirety of its season.
Understandably, players like Dallas Wings forward Satou Sabally are not happy with the league’s choice. This move also comes at a terrible time as ESPN conducted a survey composed of 25% of the league’s players and half of them pressed the league to improve its travel and security issues. League MVP A’ja Wilson hoped for a compromise, telling ESPN, “It should not take us all day to get to a destination.”
Wilson added, “It may not be that teams get their own private jet. But just working more with JSX and other chartering companies.”
After news of the memo broke, several players indicated their displeasure with the league’s revised travel policy.
“Don’t promise things you can’t accomplish. This is something that is preventable. We [WNBA players] have been preaching all season long. Shoutout to our union [WNBPA],” Sabally told SB Nation. “They’ve done an amazing job being so vocal. We can’t rely on the league. Promises were made, and they aren’t being fulfilled.”
Aces forward Alysha Clark posted her thoughts on Twitter/X mentioning Englebert and the WNBA Players Association directly in a pair of posts.
“So Cathy Englebert u said charter would be for “full playoffs” & now it’s “Between rounds, teams will have the option to charter from the home market or directly to Game 1 the following round” but not both?” Clark questioned in her post.
League officials anonymously spoke to The Next, telling the outlet, “Full playoffs should mean there are no commercial flights. No ‘fine print.’ I couldn’t believe it when I read the memo. A bunch of stipulations.”
With the playoffs quickly approaching on Sept 13, teams like the Connecticut Sun who have precarious travel situations might find themselves at a competitive disadvantage as Alyssa Thomas detailed to ESPN, “Connecticut has the worst travel in all the league, being that we’re an hour away from the airport,” Thomas said.
She added, “It’s Hartford, and there’s not too many flights from there, and if we want to fly direct, we have to travel two hours to Boston. So our travel schedule is brutal.”
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Source: Black Enterprise