Aces' Coach Becky Hammon Denies Discriminating Against Pregnant Player: 'Not How I Saw Things'
The WNBA suspended Hammon for two games without pay and rescinded the Aces' 2025 first-round draft pick
Las Vegas Aces coach Becky Hammon has broken her silence regarding the league's recent decision to suspend her for two games without pay.
On Tuesday, the WNBA announced that Hammon, 46, was found guilty of "violating league rules regarding impermissible player benefits" and had violated the WNBA's Respect in the Workplace rules based on comments she made former Aces forward Dearica Hamby about the player's recent pregnancy.
During media availability on Wednesday, Hammon addressed Hamby's complaint, which was filed on the same day that she was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks.
"I handled Dearica with care from day one when she told me," Hammon told the media on Wednesday. "She knows that, and like I said, once I made the phone call that the decision has been made to move her, that's when everything kind of fell apart."
Hammon continued, "When you're dealing with a really tough conversation, I think things can get twisted real quick, but I don't think there was any cursing or anything derogatory. That's my opinion. Obviously, she has a different opinion, and she's allowed to have that opinion, but that's not how I saw things go down with my conversation or anybody else's."
Related:WNBA Suspends Aces Coach Becky Hammon, Rescinds Draft Pick After Complaint from Pregnant Player
When asked if the WNBA gave her a specific example of violating the league's rules, Hammon said it was her "asking about" Hamby's pregnancy that the WNBA pinpointed. "I guess you'd have to ask for [the league's] interpretation, but, yeah, that from my understanding was my misstep, if you will."
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.
Hammon has not objected to the penalties imposed on her and the Aces after the league's investigation. "I'll take my little lump on the chin," Hammon told reporters.
She continued, "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."
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.
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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.
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 claims the Aces told her 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."
Related:WNBA's Cathy Engelbert Looking for Ways to Pay Players More to Avoid Another Brittney Griner Situation
The Aces organization released a statement regarding Hammon after the league's decision.
"The WNBA's determinations about Becky Hammon are inconsistent with what we know and love about her," the statement said. "Becky is a caring human being who forges close personal relationships with her players."
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