Washington Mystics forward Tina Charles was medically excused for the season by an independent panel of doctors, the team announced Friday.

Charles, who came over to the Mystics in an offseason trade, wrote in The Players Tribune on Friday that she has a condition called extrinsic asthma that impacts her immune system and would make “playing during a pandemic a very risky and dangerous proposition.”

“While we are disappointed that Tina will not be with us this summer, we fully understand the reason for her medical exemption and look forward to having her with us next season,” said Mystics coach and general manager Mike Thibault. “Again, the health of our players takes precedence. There hasn’t been anything normal about playing this season, but we are prepared and excited to play with the group that is here in Florida.”

Earlier this week, the same panel of three doctors agreed upon by the league and union denied teammate Elena Delle Donne’s request to be medically excused. Delle Donne, who has been battling Lyme disease for over a decade, is still being paid by the Mystics as she’s rehabbing her back after having surgery on it in January.

By being granted the medical excuse, Charles will be paid her full salary for the season. Had Charles been denied by the panel she would have had to either go to Florida to the WNBA bubble or sit out the season and not get paid. She said in The Players Tribune piece that she would be donating her $175,000 salary to black-owned businesses and organizations. Charles said that she will be making the donations in the amount of $846 to serve as a reminder of the death of George Floyd.

“That number, which ties back to the eight minutes and 46 seconds that George Floyd was brutalized, is significant,” Charles wrote. “And my hope is that these donations will help serve as a reminder of the injustice that occurred.

This isn’t the first time that Charles has donated her salary. Starting in 2013 she would give her WNBA salary to Hopey’s Heart Foundation to raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest in honor of her late aunt who died in 2013 of multiple organ failure. Charles has donated hundreds of automated external defibrillators (AED) to communities and schools since she started the foundation.

The 31-year-old New York native has averaged 18.1 points in her WNBA career.


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