The WNBA has loads and loads of travel issues. So much so that the Liberty were fined for chartering flights to away games last year because it was against league rules. Flight mishaps are a multiple-times-per-year occurrence and an annual talking point. That’s what happens when a league with teams scattered across 12 different cities and three time zones flies commercial.
This week’s unlucky target was the Minnesota Lynx, which, after delays and mechanical issues documented by forward Natalie Achonwa, didn’t land in D.C. until midnight before a 3 p.m. ET game.
Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve alerted the league early on in the delays that there could be an issue arriving to Washington at a normal hour but didn’t initially get a response.
“I’ve been in this league a long time, and if you do this long enough, you’re going to be in these situations,” Reeve said according to ESPN.
“I think when it comes down to the challenges that occur, it’s all about leadership and your ability to collectively work through that situation. Probably the greater disappointment was the lack of response. From our standpoint, there was no communication with the Minnesota Lynx. It was an epic fail.”
When the opposition was asked about the Lynx’s delay, Thibault imitated wiping away fake tears.
“I’m tired of hearing about them,” he said about travel delays according to ESPN. “I’m tired of hearing about it on Twitter. It happens to every team. And I get it. Every team would like to get in feeling fully refreshed. But they got here last night. They didn’t play yesterday. I know it’s a long day. But everybody goes through that.”
He also wasn’t interested in moving the game’s start time back. “We have close to a sellout today, and it’s not like they were arriving this morning,” he said when asked. “I know it was a long travel day; we’ve all had them. We really weren’t in a position to accommodate them unless there was a much more mitigating circumstance than there is right now.”
The Mystics won Sunday’s game, 70-57. Thibault apologized on Twitter for his comments:
Reeve accepted it:
Hopefully the league’s flight situation is soon resolved, and we can all laugh about the fake-cry Thibault meme.