WNBA Suspends Aces Coach Becky Hammon, Rescinds Draft Pick After Complaint from Pregnant Player
Former Aces forward Dearica Hamby said she was "heartbroken" after her commitment to the team during her pregnancy was called into question
Las Vegas Aces head coach Becky Hammon will face a two-game suspension without pay to begin the season after a league investigation determined she had made inappropriate comments to a pregnant player, the WNBA announced on Tuesday.
In a statement, the league said Hammon, 46, and the Aces had been found guilty of "violating league rules regarding impermissible player benefits" and had violated the WNBA's Respect in the Workplace rules in relation "to comments made by Hammon to Hamby in connection with Hamby's recent pregnancy."
While the league has not released additional information about Hammon's alleged misconduct, an Instagram post shared by Hamby on Jan. 21, the same day she was traded and the complaint was filed, offers additional insight into her dispute with the Aces organization.
In a lengthy message to fans and friends, Hamby said she "genuinely" loves the city of Las Vegas and Aces fans after spending the majority of her career with the team, but could not move on from "disgusting comments" made towards her by an unnamed member of the Aces organization.
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"With that being said, I am heartbroken. Being traded is a part of the business. Being lied to, bullied, manipulated, and discriminated against is not," she wrote.
Hamby said her "character and work ethic" were attacked, and she was "promised things" by the organization that were "not followed through on," in the post. "I was accused of signing my extension knowingly pregnant. This is false."
Hamby alleged that the team was concerned about her "level of commitment" to the Aces after speculation that she would "get pregnant again" in the next two years. She continued, "Did the team expect me to promise not to get pregnant in exchange for the contract extension?"
Hamby claims the Aces told her that she was being traded from the team because of concern over her availability. "I was then told that I 'was not taking precautions to not get pregnant.' "
The Aces' treatment of Hamby was "unprofessional and unethical," she claimed. "I remained transparent with everyone within the organization, and yet, my honesty was met with coldness, disrespect, and disregard from members of management."
PEOPLE has contacted the Aces and Hammon for comment.
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The WNBA's investigation, which included 33 interviews with people close to the situation and "a review of numerous texts, emails and other documents," uncovered several individuals with "additional concerns about the conduct of the Aces during the most recent free agency period," according to the WNBA.
The WNBA said that along with Hammon's suspension, they are stripping the team of their 2025 first-round draft pick.
However, the investigation "was not able to substantiate" those additional concerns, the statement said.
League commissioner Cathy Engelbert said, "It is critical that we uphold the values of integrity and fairness, which create a level playing field for our teams," in the statement.
"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."
Hamby and the Sparks begin their season on Friday. They'll host Brittney Griner and the Phoenix Mercury at the Crypto.com arena in Los Angeles.
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