Aces coach Becky Hammon ‘disappointed’ by WNBA investigation findings

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Las Vegas Aces coach Becky Hammon said Wednesday during WNBA head coaches media availability that she “doesn’t recall my relationship (with anyone) being anything but on the up-and-up” and that she was “disappointed” with the findings of a league investigation that led, among other penalties, to Hammon being suspended for the Aces’ first two games of the season. 

The league announced Tuesday that Hammon, who led the Aces to the WNBA title in her first season as head coach, would be suspended without pay after an investigation into allegations a player was bullied for being pregnant. The team also lost a 2025 first-round draft pick for violating league rules regarding player benefits.

The investigation stemmed from allegations made by former Las Vegas forward Dearica Hamby, who was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks in the offseason. After the trade was announced in January, Hamby, a two-time Sixth Woman of the Year, posted on her Instagram account, “Being traded is a part of the business. Being lied to, bullied, manipulated, and discriminated against is not,” adding that the Aces questioned her commitment to the team after learning she was pregnant with her second child.

Hamby’s comments sparked a monthslong investigation by the league — an investigation that, according to Hammon, did not include interviewing any of the other Aces players from last season. The WNBA said Las Vegas was given the opportunity to provide names of individuals to be interviewed and did not do so. Hammon also pushed back on the notion that she treated Hamby inappropriately. 

“I handled Dearica with care from Day 1 when she told me (she was pregnant), she knows that,” Hammon said. “Once the decision had been made to move her (to Los Angeles), that’s when everything fell apart.” 

Hammon said she did ask Hamby about her pregnancy and that based on the league’s findings, just asking Hamby “was my misstep.” 

“(The pregnancy) wasn’t a problem, it not why we made the decision to move Hamby, it’s because we could get three bodies for one contract,” Hammon said. “I think it’s very evident why we made the move. (Her pregnancy) was never an issue and never the reason she was traded, it came down to math and business, it wasn’t anything personal.” Hammon added that she prides herself on having close, personal relationships with all her players and she’d guess “that’s why (Dearica) felt the way she did — (being traded) feels like a betrayal.

“Whatever Dearica deemed as painful, I’m not (invalidating) her feelings. I’m sorry they were hurt,” Hammon said. “My job is to make the Aces better every year and sometimes that’s a hard process.” She added that she does “feel bad” if anything she said or did upset Hamby or “inflicted pain or stress on anybody.” 

In the WNBA’s release about the investigation Tuesday, the league said it reviewed “numerous texts, emails and other documents.” Asked Wednesday if she’d considered releasing screenshots of any of her text messages conversations with Hamby, Hammon said no, adding “I’ve never had one bad text or email” and that she doesn’t typically email players because “I talk to them directly.”

Hamby: ‘I want to move forward’

In a statement Tuesday, the Aces said they were “deeply disappointed by the outcome of the WNBA investigation” and that “the WNBA’s determinations about Becky Hammon are inconsistent with what we know and love about her.”

Additionally, the WNBA Players Association said in a statement that the league’s findings and action “misses the mark.” It called the penalty “far from appropriate” adding that “while taking away a future draft pick is significant … it penalizes a future player by removing an opportunity to compete for a job.” 

Hamby, who gave birth to a boy in March, told reporters Tuesday, “I want to move forward and focus on where I am today. I’m healthy, I’m happy, my son is healthy … I want to focus on moving forward, this part of it is over, and me and the (players) union will continue to explore my options.” 

The Aces open the season Saturday at Seattle before traveling to play Los Angeles and Hamby on May 25.

Follow Lindsay Schnell on Twitter @Lindsay_Schnell

This post appeared first on USA TODAY