WNBA’s Dearica Hamby Addresses Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit: ‘I Really Just Wanted an Apology’

“Players shouldn’t be afraid to start families,” Hamby said of her decision to file the lawsuit against the WNBA and the Las Vegas Aces.

WNBA’s Dearica Hamby Addresses Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit: ‘I Really Just Wanted an Apology’
Photo:Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire (Getty Images)

In January, WNBA All-Star Dearica Hamby posted an Instagram alleging pregnancy discrimination and mistreatment by the Las Vegas Aces organization, including by legendary coach Becky Hammon. “Being traded is a part of the business,” Hamby wrote at the time. “Being lied to, bullied, manipulated, and discriminated against is not.”

Hamby signed a two-year contract with the Aces in June 2022 and says that Hammon told her, “We didn’t expect you to get pregnant in the next two years,” when she revealed her pregnancy that same summer. When she was informed of her trade to the Los Angeles Sparks in January, she reportedly asked Hammon if it was because she was pregnant, Hammon replied: “What do you want me to do?”

The league opened an investigation after Hamby’s Instagram post, led by former prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and another from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. They interviewed 33 people and reviewed relevant communications—eventually leading to Hammon’s two-game suspension and the team losing a first-round draft pick in 2025.

“It was a slap on the wrist for the things that happened to me,” Hamby said in a new interview with the Washington Post. In October, Hamby filed a gender discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the league, the Aces, and Hammon, alleging that they created an “abusive and hostile” work environment in the months between revealing her pregnancy and getting traded to the Sparks.

“This is why people don’t speak up — because they’re never believed,” Hamby said. “In that moment I really just wanted an apology, and it still to this day hasn’t happened. It’s just been denial.”

According to a statement from the league in May, Hammon’s conduct violated the WNBA and the Aces’ “Respect in the Workplace policies” (though they didn’t release specific findings). But Hammon maintains her innocence. “I don’t recall my relationship with Hamby being anything but on the up-and-up, and I’m just — obviously along with the organization — disappointed with the findings,” Hammon told ESPN. “It’s never [good] to have your name be associated with something like that, which is not who you are as a person. That’s not how I operate. I did talk to my team; they were great. I have to say they’ve been very professional throughout this whole process.”

Back in January, when Hamby first went public, she said the following statements were made to her once she disclosed her pregnancy to Hammon and the team, though she didn’t attribute who said what:

  • “I was then told that I ‘was not taking precautions to not get pregnant.’”
  • “I was being traded because ‘I wouldn’t be ready and we need bodies.’”
  • “Only to be inaccurately told that ‘I was not taking my workouts seriously.”
  • “You’re getting moved regardless and It’s [sic] best for your career that you move on from the Aces.”

There are a number of other factors that may have been at play in deciding to trade Hamby, including the Aces’ need to clear salary cap room to sign Candace Parker, a two-time MVP. Regardless Hamby maintains that “players shouldn’t be afraid to start families.” Hamby added that she’d like acknowledgment from the league about what happened.

“A player can be traded or transferred for any reason or no reason at all,” Dana Sniegocki, one of Hamby’s attorneys, told the Post. “Except for a particular, specified class of reasons, and pregnancy is one of those.”

Hamby gave birth to her second child, Legend Maree Scandrick, in March. Hamby’s Los Angeles Sparks did not qualify for the playoffs this season. Hammon and the Aces are one win away from being the first WBNA team to win back-to-back championships since the Los Angeles Sparks in the early aughts.

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