The WNBA suspended Las Vegas Aces head coach Becky Hammon on Tuesday after a former player alleged she was bullied and manipulated for being pregnant.
The month-long league investigation led to a two-game suspension for Hammon after it determined the coach violated the league’s and team’s respect-in-the-workplace policies. The Aces’ 2025 first-round pick was also rescinded for a violation of the league’s impermissible player benefits.
«It is critical that we uphold the values of integrity and fairness, which create a level playing field for our teams,» WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement.
«The Aces failed to comply with league rules and regulations and have been disciplined accordingly. We are also disheartened by the violation of our respect-in-the-workplace policies and remain committed to ensuring enhanced training is conducted and adhered to. the standards on all WNBA teams.»
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The punishment came from former player Dearica Hamby, who claimed the organization had a problem with her pregnancy and it led to a trade.
«Being traded is part of the business. Being lied to, harassed, manipulated and discriminated against is not,» he wrote on Instagram in January. «My character and work ethic have been attacked. I was promised things to encourage me to sign my contract extension that were not fulfilled. They accused me of signing my extension knowing that I was pregnant.»
«This is false. They told me it was a ‘question mark’ and that it was established that I would ‘get pregnant again’ and there was a concern about my level of commitment to the team. They told me that ‘I didn’t keep my part of the deal’ (Because ‘nobody expected me to get pregnant in the next two years.’) Did the team expect me to promise not to get pregnant in exchange for the contract extension? I was asked if I planned my pregnancy.
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“When I answered ‘no,’ I was told that ‘I wasn’t taking precautions not to get pregnant.’ They moved me because ‘I wouldn’t be ready and we need bodies.’ I was planning to play this season and have expressed my desire to play this season. I have pushed myself throughout my pregnancy and have continued to train (basketball included) on my own and with team personnel, even on days when it was uncomfortable. walking, only to be told incorrectly that ‘I wasn’t taking my workouts seriously.
Hamby added that her situation with the Aces had been «traumatising».
«To be treated this way by an organization, BY WOMEN who are mothers, who have claimed to ‘be in these shoes,’ who preach family, chemistry and women’s empowerment is disappointing and makes me sick to my stomach,» she added. «We fought for provisions that would finally support and protect parents of players. This can’t be used against me now.»
Hamby was also the WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year in 2019 and 2020. She averaged 9.3 points and 7.1 rebounds as the Aces won the championship in 2022. She was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks in the offseason.
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The impermissible benefits discipline occurred for negotiations of a contract extension for Hambry. She had signed a two-year extension last year before the Jan. 21 trade.
Associated Press contributed to this report.