John Locher / AP
Tuesday, May 16, 2023 | 11:53 a.m.
NEW YORK — The WNBA suspended Las Vegas Aces coach Becky Hammon for two games Tuesday for comments Hammon allegedly made to former player Dearica Hamby about her pregnancy.
Hammon was suspended without pay after the monthslong investigation stemming from Hamby’s allegation that she was bullied and manipulated for being pregnant.
The WNBA found Hammon violated league and team respect in the workplace policies. The league also rescinded the Aces’ first-round pick in the 2025 draft for violating league rules regarding impermissible player benefits.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 union was not pleased with the penalties handed down, feeling they should have been harsher.
“The league had an opportunity to send a clear message that it abides by and protects the provisions of the CBA, particularly those that we were most proud of — the provisions meant to support player parents,” the union said in a statement. “Today’s decision regarding penalties, however, misses the mark. Where in this decision does this team or any other team across the league learn the lesson that respect in the workplace is the highest standard and a player’s dignity cannot be manipulated?”
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.