Down & Dirty with Devereaux
Video by Indiana Fever forward Devereaux Peters, @MsPeters14
To put this video in context, at the beginning of the week, former WNBA player Candace Wiggins stunned the women’s basketball world with accusations that she was a victim of bullying during her years in the league because she is heterosexual. She also indicated that she felt out of place in the WNBA because of her peculiar claim that 98 percent of the players in the league are lesbian.
Her former colleagues came out swinging to refute her claims and defend the league with tweets, Facebooks posts, essays and comments to reporters. Unfortunately, Wiggins’ account was published in numerous mainstream outlets without any fact checking or opposing comment before many players could get their viewpoints published.
Wiggins, who has declined to provide any specific details about the alleged bullying but promises more information will come out in a forthcoming memoir, doubled down on her accusations later in the week by also including coaches and what she termed the league’s “leaders” among those who allegedly bullied her during her eight years in the WNBA on four teams.
She retired from playing professionally in the March 2016 in an essay she wrote for The Players Tribune. Not once in the essay or during her career did she give any indication of being bullied. Her retirement announcement cited injuries and the physical grind of playing in the league and overseas as the main reasons why she stepped away from the sport. In her last year, she averaged 2.8 points and 1.9 rebounds per game in 12.9 minutes of play per contest. In her career, she averaged 8.6 points per game and 2.4 rebounds per contest.
Responses from other current and former players plus coaches
Statement from the WNBA Player’s Association president and Stanford graduate Nneka Ogwumike
“Our union is only as strong as our loyalty to and support for one another. What is key to that loyalty and support is our commitment to diversity and inclusion. As a union, we should and we will continue to celebrate the diversity that makes us special and lead by example. We must respect the rights of those we don’t agree with when they speak their mind. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the comments made recently by a former player or whether one has seen or experienced anything like what she has described, anything that impacts an inclusive culture should be taken seriously.”
Statement from WNBA President Lisa Borders
“When I first read the comments from retired WNBA player, Candice Wiggins, I was stunned and disappointed. In my time with the league and my capacity as a fan before that, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know a group of highly-competitive women who are driven to succeed at the highest level on the court and constantly striving to help create opportunity for all members of their communities. In keeping with that, I’ve found our players to be earnest, heartfelt and eloquent in their responses to Candice’s comments and, as always, clear in their commitment to our league’s core values of diversity, inclusion and respect. Of course, it concerns me if any of our players do not have a positive experience and I hope that anyone who feels uncomfortable would reach out to me or others in the league office.”
This post is part of the thread: 2017 WNBA Season – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.