WNBA Players Dispute Candice Wiggins Claims

In Mar. 2016, WNBA star Candice Wiggins cited physical wear and tear on her body and said she didn’t really love the game anymore. Wiggins’ remarks came during her retirement, but a recent interview cites some more controversial reasons for her deciding to leave the league.

In a story published Monday in the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Stanford University grad said her time in the league was miserable due to being harassed by players for being straight. In fact, Wiggins when on to say that while she would’ve liked to play for two more seasons, the “bullying” dissuaded her from doing so.

“I was to play two more seasons of WNBA, but the experience didn’t lend itself to my mental state,” Wiggins said in an exclusive interview with the Union-Tribune. “It was a depressing state in the WNBA. […] I didn’t like the culture inside the WNBA, and without revealing too much, it was toxic for me. My spirit was being broken.”

While WNBA heads have not responded to Wiggins’ claims, players have opted to decry her claims of harassment and the culture being negative.

Two-time WNBA title champ DeLisha Milton-Jones has appeared in more games than any player in league history. She said she was baffled by Wiggins’ remarks.

“I know Candice as a sweet, intelligent young lady,” said Milton-Jones, who now is an assistant coach at Pepperdine. “I don’t want to take anything from her experiences while in the league, so I can only speak for what I experienced firsthand. And it’s in complete contradiction of what’s been stated by Candice.

“The WNBA has allowed many of us to live a dream. I pray that Candice does find peace with her life and is able to move forward without devaluing or diminishing what’s been priceless to so many others in the league.”

Chicago center and WNBA rookie Imani Boyette also responded Wiggins’ claims of bullying.

In a blog addressed to Wiggins, whom Boyette says she grew up admiring, she wrote, “There is literally a woman from every walk of life in the league, which is why I love it so much. I have never experienced the bullying you spoke about, and I hope no one else ever does.”

“Our union is only as strong as our loyalty to and support for one another,” WNBA Players’ Association Executive Committee President Nneka Ogwumike said in the statement. “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.”

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