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WNBA Players Call for Charter Flights (Again) After Griner Incident 

  • Phoenix Mercury head coach says team will make travel adjustments following Griner's airport incident.
  • Commissioner Cathy Engelbert previously said league-wide charter flights would cost over $20 million per year.
The WNBA players' union says commercial flights are a threat to player safety.
Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
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The Phoenix Mercury will make travel adjustments after an incident at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Saturday in which right-leaning YouTube personality Alex Stein approached Brittney Griner. 

After the incident, the WNBA players’ union renewed its pleas for charter flights. 

”We will be making [travel] adjustments that maybe should have happened before, but right now, we’re going to prioritize the safety of our players, and we’ve seen that the organization has supported us,” Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard said Sunday. 

Stein used his cellphone to record a video asking Griner outlandish questions about her detainment in Russia. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, a DFW airport spokesperson said no crime was committed.

WNBA teams have flown commercially during the regular season since the league’s inception in 1997. Before this season, the league expanded its charter flight program to include all postseason games, the Commissioner’s Cup Championship, and select back-to-back regular season games. 

Since Griner’s return from Russia, the league has approved her to fly charter for WNBA games.

Commissioner Cathy Engelbert previously said it would cost more than $20 million per year to fund charter flights for an entire WNBA season. The league fined New York Liberty owner Joe Tsai $500,000 for providing his team charter flights in 2022.

“Every commercial flight forced upon our players is a threat to their health and safety,” the WNBPA said. “We implore the league and the teams not to wait another day to change the rule regarding travel.”

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