WNBA star Dearica Hamby said she was “bullied” and “manipulated” by the Las Vegas Aces after she got pregnant with her second child.
In a message posted to Instagram on Saturday, the two-time All-Star shared a photo of herself holding her pregnant stomach and thanked the fans who supported her since she was drafted to the San Antonio Stars in 2015. The team moved to Las Vegas in 2018. She then gave insight into the news that broke earlier in the afternoon that she was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks.
“Being traded is a part of the business. Being lied to, bullied, manipulated, and discriminated against is not,” she said. “I have had my character and work ethic attacked.”
Hamby signed a multi-year contract extension with the Aces in June prior to the team winning its first WNBA title in September. She revealed after the championship that she was expecting her second child. The eight-year veteran said in her post that the team claimed she was untruthful in signing her extension while pregnant.
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“There was a concern for my level of commitment to the team,” she continued. “I was told that ‘I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain’ (Because ‘no one expected me to get pregnant in the next two years’). Did the team expect me to promise not to get pregnant in exchange for this contract extension?
“… I was being traded because ‘I wouldn’t be ready and we need bodies.’ I planned to play this season, and I have expressed my desire to play this season. I have pushed myself throughout my entire pregnancy and have continued to work out (basketball included) on my own and with team staff — even on days where it was uncomfortable to walk, only to be inaccurately told that ‘I was not taking my workouts seriously.’ “
Hamby called out the leadership of the team, who she expected to understand her situation. The Aces head coach, Becky Hammon, and general manager, Natalie Williams, are both former WNBA All-Stars.
“The unprofessional and unethical way that I have been treated has been traumatizing. 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 leaves me sick to my stomach,” Hamby said. “We fought for provisions that would finally support and protect player parents. This cannot now be used against me.”
The WNBPA released a statement after Hamby published her post, saying the league will investigate the conduct of the Aces.
“A member of our Union has raised some serious concerns regarding the conduct of members of Las Vegas Aces’ management,” the statement said. “We will review this matter and we will seek a comprehensive investigation to ensure that her rights under the collectively bargained provisions of the 2020 CBA, as well as her rights and protections under state and federal law, have not been violated.”
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When the WNBA was founded in 1997, Sheryl Swoopes missed most of its inaugural season because she was pregnant. Skylar Diggins-Smith missed the 2019 season after giving birth to her son. In 2020, the WNBA approved an eight-year collective bargaining agreement that increased player salaries and promised improved protections for pregnant players.
The Aces have not commented on the matter, except for thanking Hamby in a series of Twitter posts for her contributions to the franchise.
“8 seasons, back-to-back 6th Woman of the Year Awards, 2 All-Stars, a Commissioner’s Cup Championship, and our first @WNBA Title,” the team said in one of the posts. “Thank you, @dearicamarie.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: WNBA’s Dearica Hamby says Aces mistreated her after she got pregnant