The WNBA recently disciplined the Las Vegas Aces and their head coach Becky Hammon regarding a complaint by Sparks forward Dearica Hamby in January. In an Instagram post, Hamby alleged that the organization questioned her commitment to the team due to her pregnancy.
She also alleged that they “bullied” and “discriminated” against her and did not follow through on giving her things she was promised if she signed her contract extension.
Forward Dearica Hamby talks about the support she feels from the LA Sparks since she has joined. The investigation in regards to her grievance is still ongoing pic.twitter.com/HNZcCT9rRR
— Amanda Scurlock (@Amandtastic) May 5, 2023
“I have had my character and work ethic attacked,” Hamby stated on Instagram. “I was accused of signing my extension knowingly pregnant. This is false. I was told that I was “a question mark” and that it was said that I said I would “get pregnant again.””
Hammon was suspended for two games without pay for “violating league and team Respect in the Workplace policies,” according to a statement released by the WNBA.
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“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The WNBA also rescinded the Las Vegas Aces’ 2025 first-round draft pick “for violating league rules regarding impermissible player benefits.” Hammon explained to reporters how she did nothing to warrant the suspension and said that whatever ill feelings Hamby had came from being traded.
“I’ll take my little lump on the chin and keep it moving,” Hammon said. “We’re bigger than this. It’s just not who the Aces are. It’s not who I am. And so, yeah, everybody’s disappointed in the situation, but at the end of the day, we know who we are and so we go to sleep every night in that truth.”
Due to the trade, the Aces were able to acquire two-time WNBA champion Candace Parker.
“We made the decision to move Hamby because we could get three bodies in for her one contract,” Hammon said. “I think it’s very evident who we signed why we made the move, but (Hamby’s pregnancy) was never an issue and it was never the reason she was traded. It just wasn’t. It came down to math and business. That’s all it was. Nothing personal.”
The WNBPA released a statement criticizing the disciplinary actions, stating that it “misses the mark.”
“Incidents of misconduct by a team or team staff cannot always be compared, but recent penalties imposed by the League, and an honest view of the facts, demonstrate that this penalty is far from appropriate,” the WNBPA stated. “While taking away a future draft pick is significant and has never been done in the League’s history, it penalizes a future player by removing an opportunity to compete for a job.”
Although she gave birth three months ago to her son Legend, Dearica opted to play in the Sparks’ season opener. In her 15 minutes on the hardwood, she scored nine points, three rebounds and one assist.