Dearica Hamby — former Las Vegas Aces player and current Forward for the Los Angeles Sparks — has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the Aces, claiming that the organization "retaliated" against her because she got pregnant.
The lawsuit, which was filed last month and recently obtained by ESPN, alleges that Aces head coach Becky Hammon accused Hamby — a two-time Sixth Player of the Year — of signing a two-year extension with Las Vegas last year, despite knowing she was pregnant. In addition, Hamby states in the lawsuit that the Aces, "began to retaliate against me and caused the work environment to become unreasonably abusive and hostile" and also encouraged her to avoid getting pregnant "in the next two years."
While ESPN's description of the lawsuit doesn't make this clear, one assumes that the "retaliation" Hamby refers to is that the Las Vegas Aces traded her to the Los Angeles Sparks in January of this year. Hours after the trade was announced, Hamby made allegations against her former team in an Instagram post; saying, among other things, "Being traded is part of the business. Being lied to, bullied, manipulated, and discriminated against is not... To be treated this way by an organization, BY WOMEN who are mothers... is disappointing and leaves me sick to my stomach."
The WNBA investigated Hamby's claims back in May, and announced a two-game suspension for Becky Hammon once the investigation concluded, along with the Aces losing a first-round pick in the 2025 WNBA Draft.
We have rescinded the Las Vegas Aces? 2025 first-round draft pick for violating league rules regarding impermissible player benefits & suspended head coach Becky Hammon for two games w/o pay for violating league and team Respect in the Workplace policies
Full Statement ?? pic.twitter.com/MtHz1yP2Gm
— WNBA (@WNBA) May 16, 2023
Hammon responded to her suspension by saying, "[Hamby's pregnancy] wasn't a problem, and it never was why we made the decision [to trade her]. We made the decision to move Hamby because we could get three bodies in her one contract, and we wanted to get three more people in. I think it's very evident [with] who we signed on why we made the move."
Hammon continued, saying, "It came down to math in business. That's all it was. 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. But like I said, it's a crappy part of my job, but somebody's got to be the bearer of bad news."
The allegations and resulting lawsuit is certainly a difficult and nuanced situation for all involved parties. Hopefully Hamby, Hammon, the Aces and the Sparks will all feel content with how the situation gets resolved, whenever that day comes.
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