While the Chicago Sky were celebrating their first WNBA championship in franchise history, the Phoenix Mercury players declined to comment and reportedly left Wintrust Arena on the team bus.
The Mercury did not provide a reason why they would not answer questions from the media or give any postgame comments. Head coach Sandy Brondello did hold a postgame news conference and answered questions.
After Sky head coach James Wade and Finals MVP Kahleah Copper met with the media, WNBA PR announced that Mercury players were declining to comment. Girls Talk Sports TV's Khristina Williams reported that the Mercury had left on the team bus shortly after the announcement.
They already left on the bus. https://t.co/UaQ9FcAzg8
— Khristina Williams (@Khristina2334) October 17, 2021
The Mercury could be fined for refusing to do postgame media, although it is unclear whether or not the league will pursue that. Reporters were told that questions for the Mercury could be submitted to their PR via email.
The Phoenix Mercury players declined to come the the postgame press conference. We asked #WNBA comms if they are going to be fined. They said it’s an evolving situation. @MechelleV said nothing like this has happened in her career covering WBB.
— Jackie Powell (@ClassicJpow) October 17, 2021
Losing teams across sports and leagues routinely answer questions from media postgame, even after championships.
Mercury guard Diana Taurasi is usually not shy about sharing her feelings.
After being fined for shoving a referee during Game 3, Taurasi was quick to say that she did not know it was a ref. She is one of the league's biggest trash talkers and will plead her case with every official on the court.
As a three-time WNBA champion, Taurasi — and the Mercury — are aware of media protocols.
No Mercury players have been outspoken about the effects of postgame media obligations on their mental health, as other professional athletes have.
Report: Diana Taurasi breaks locker room door after loss
The Next Hoops' Alex Simon reported that Taurasi broke the visiting locker room door at Wintrust Arena after the game as frustration and emotion spilled over.
From the story:
The door was severely cracked through the middle, which an eyewitness said came from Taurasi slamming the door multiple times. Neither the WNBA nor the Phoenix Mercury commented by time of publication.
Taurasi struggled with turnovers and poor shooting in the latter portion of the Finals series. She finished Game 4 with 16 points on 4-of-16 from the field (25%) and three turnovers. In Game 3, she had only five points on 1-of-10 from the field (10%). In Game 1, she turned the ball over six times.
Clunky finish for Mercury in WNBA Finals Game 4
Phoenix missed 11 straight field goals to close the game, leaving plenty of opportunities on the table to force a winner-take-all Game 5 back in Phoenix.
The Mercury's final field goal of Game 4 came at the 4:42 mark of the fourth quarter on a Brittney Griner reverse layup. The Mercury's final points came when Taurasi hit 2-of-3 free throws with 42.3 seconds remaining when she was fouled by Copper.
Chicago's Courtney Vandersloot hit a jumper and made two free throws to seal the game in the waning seconds for an 80-74 win in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals to clinch the Sky's first title in club history.