WNBA penalizes Aces after investigation
NEW YORK (AP) — The WNBA suspended Las Vegas Aces coach Becky Hammon for two games without pay Tuesday for violating league and team respect in the workplace policies.
The violation was related to comments made by Hammon to Dearica Hamby in connection with the player's recent pregnancy. Hamby’s allegations were that she was bullied and manipulated for being pregnant.
The league also rescinded the Aces' first-round pick in the 2025 draft for violating league rules regarding impermissible player benefits. Las Vegas didn't have a 2024 pick in the first round because of a prior trade.
“It is critical that we uphold the values of integrity and fairness, which create a level playing field for our teams,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert. “The Aces failed to adhere to 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 that enhanced training is conducted and standards are followed across all WNBA teams.”
The impermissible benefits were in connection with negotiations for an extension of Hamby’s player contract. She had signed a two-year extension last June. Hamby was traded on Jan. 21 to the Los Angeles Sparks.
After she was traded, she posted on Instagram: “Being traded is a part of the business. Being lied to, bullied, manipulated, and discriminated against is not.”
The players’ union had pushed for an inquiry into whether Hamby’s rights under the league’s 2020 labor agreement were violated, as well as state and federal laws. The league investigation included interviews with 33 people and a review of texts, emails and other documents.
The investigation took over three months to complete.
Recent media reports have tabbed Hammon as a potential candidate to fill the Toronto Raptors' vacant head coach position.
The defending champion Aces open up the season on Saturday at Seattle before playing at Los Angeles against Hamby and the Sparks on May 25.
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