The WNBA suspended Las Vegas Aces coach Becky Hammon for two games on Tuesday for comments she made to star player Derica Hamby about her pregnancy, but the players’ union said the punishment was insufficient.
The Aces traded Hamby to the Los Angeles Sparks in January, a few months after the Aces won the championship and Hamby signed a contract extension. at the time, Hambi wrote in a post on Instagram “He made offensive comments,” said an unnamed person. She said she was falsely accused of signing a contract extension when she found out she was pregnant and was told “we need my body because I wasn’t ready”.
Although she pushed herself to perform “uncomfortably well” during her pregnancy, she said her commitment to the team was called into question. Hamby won the league’s Sixth Player of the Year award in 2019 and 2020 and was named to the All-Star team for the second time last season.
Hamby wrote in January: “The unprofessional and unethical treatment I received was appalling, especially coming from women who were mothers and who preached “family, chemistry and women’s empowerment.”
Hambi, 29, announced the birth of her son. fairy tale, in March. She also has a 6-year-old daughter named Amaya.
The WNBA did not detail what Hammon said to Hamby, but said Hammon’s comments violated its workplace respect policy. The league also said the Aces will lose a first-round pick in the 2025 draft after Hamby received undisclosed impermissible benefits during contract negotiations.
On Tuesday, the WNBA Players Association said the fines were “far from appropriate.”
“Where is the lesson in this decision that this team, or any team in the league, has learned that respect in the workplace is the highest standard and that a player’s honor cannot be taken advantage of?” The union said.
In May 2021, then-Connecticut Suns coach Kurt Miller was fined $10,000 and suspended for one game for comments he made about center Liz Cambage’s weight. Miller now coaches the Sparks.
Hammon’s two-game suspension is without pay, but the league has not announced a fine.
The union called for an investigation after Hamby’s Instagram post on January 21. On February 8, Aces said in a statement that the league had begun a formal investigation and that the team would cooperate.
Hammon, 46, played 16 seasons in the WNBA and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame last year in her first season with the Aces. She spent eight seasons as an assistant coach with the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs and was the first woman to become a full-time assistant in NBA history. It was often rumored that she would take head coaching jobs in the men’s league. Owner of Aces Mark Davis announced her hiring It’s an inspirational moment for the girls as the team pays her more than $1 million, more than any other coach in the league.
In recent years, there’s been a big push — by players, fans and league officials — for more investment in the league’s most recent collective bargaining agreement signed in 2020, including full maternity benefits. Pay during maternity leave, more spacious housing, a $5,000 child care allowance, and benefits for adoption and prenatal care.
For professional athletes and parents alike, the struggle is just beginning.
In May 2022, Icelandic soccer player Sara Björk Gunnarsdottir sued her former club Lyon over its treatment during her pregnancy. The club did not pay her during her pregnancy and failed to fulfill his “duty of care” while she was away from the club.
“Nobody was checking me out, watching me, mentally or physically, as a worker, but as a person.” Gunnarsdottir wrote a piece for the Players Tribune. “Basically, they had a responsibility to take care of me, but they didn’t.
Leon is forced to pay all her debts.
Pregnancy leave has been added to collective bargaining agreements for both the WNBA and the National Women’s Soccer League over the past few years. of NWSL agreementIn the year Signed in 2022, it marked the introduction of eight weeks of paid leave for pregnancy or adoption. There were no previous guidelines for new parents.
Star Power does not provide coverage for individual athletes. Allyson Felix, the 11-time Olympic medalist in track and field, and Serena Williams, the winner of 23 Grand Slam singles championships in tennis, had to fight for income after having children.
Felix announced in May 2019 that the company refused to stop her pay if she didn’t perform well in the months surrounding the birth. Three months later, Nike announced a new maternity policy for all sponsored athletes.
When Williams returned to the professional tour in early 2018, eight months after giving birth, her world ranking dropped from No. 1 to 451, despite setting a record. She fought for players to have protected standards and during the year the Women’s Tennis Association He changed the rules for players returning from pregnancyIt allows them to use a special status for three years after the birth of a child.