Speaking to reporters a day after the WBNA announced her suspension for violating league and team workplace policies, Las Vegas Aces head coach Becky Hammon, said she was disappointed with the league’s findings but is looking forward to “putting the whole thing behind us and playing good basketball.”
The WNBA had investigated claims made by former Aces forward Dearica Hamby, who, after she was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks in January, said the team discriminated against her for getting pregnant.
“(Her pregnancy) wasn’t a problem, and it never was why we made the decision to move Hamby,” Hammon said.
“We made the decision to move Hamby because we could get three bodies in for her one contract … It was never an issue, and it was never the reason she was traded. It just wasn’t.
“It came down to math and business. Nothing personal. I had a great relationship with Hamby the whole time, which is why she probably felt the way she did, you know?
“It feels like a betrayal. It’s a crappy part of my job, but somebody’s got to be the bearer of bad news.”
‘Everything kind of fell apart’
Hamby had signed a two-year contract extension with the Aces in June. She said in a post on Instagram that she was accused of signing the extension while knowing she was pregnant, which she denied.
Following the probe, the league said the respect in the workplace violation was related to comments made by Hammon to Hamby in connection with the 29-year-old forward’s recent pregnancy, while the team violation involved promises of impermissible benefits in connection with negotiations for an extension of her player contract.
Hammon is suspended without pay for the Aces’ first two games of the regular season, and the franchise loses a 2025 first-round draft pick.
Hammon said the league told her she was suspended for “asking about her pregnancy and a private conversation [she] was having with Dearica,” but also said she thought her relationship with Hamby was “on the up and up” when she was with the Aces.
When the decision was made to trade Hamby, “that’s when everything kind of fell apart,” according to Hammon.
“Whatever Dearica deemed as painful or whatever, I’m not (invalidating) her feelings, and I’m sorry that they were hurt,” Hammon said.
“My job is to have tough conversations, but I still have to do a job. My job is to make the Aces better every year, and sometimes that’s a hard process.
“As much as I can sit there and say that’s not how I deemed the conversation going, she deemed it another way, and for that, I do feel bad. I don’t feel good at inflicting pain or stress on anybody. It’s just not in me. It’s not in my heart.”