Dearica Hamby speaks out: ‘You’re trading me because I’m pregnant?’

WNBA Player Files Discrimination Claim After Being Traded While Pregnant

Dearica Hamby, a prominent WNBA player who recently filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), claims she was traded away from the Las Vegas Aces because of her pregnancy. Hamby had a successful season with the Aces in 2022 and had a good relationship with her coach, Becky Hammon. However, upon revealing her pregnancy to Hammon, Hamby says the coach interrogated her and made inappropriate comments about her use of birth control. Hamby raised concerns that her trade was a direct result of her pregnancy, to which Hammon allegedly responded dismissively.

Hamby’s decision to file a gender and pregnancy discrimination complaint with the EEOC is a rare but increasingly utilized method by athletes to bring attention to unfair treatment within their respective leagues. The EEOC has previously supported the U.S. women’s national soccer team in a gender pay discrimination lawsuit and investigated complaints of discrimination against Black college athletes.

The Aces and Hammon have denied all allegations, with Hammon stating that the trade was motivated purely by financial and strategic factors. The WNBA conducted an investigation into Hamby’s complaint and handed Hammon a two-game suspension for violating workplace respect policies. However, Hamby believes the suspension does not adequately address the mistreatment she endured due to her pregnancy.

Hamby’s case highlights the ongoing issue of pregnancy discrimination in professional sports. Allyson Felix, a prominent runner, also spoke out about allegedly having her pay and bonuses cut by Nike during her pregnancy. While the WNBA has made progress by offering maternity leave and stipends for child care in its collective bargaining agreement, Hamby argues that further changes are needed to protect players and make it easier for teams to navigate salary cap issues when players become pregnant.

In addition to seeking an apology and acknowledgement of her mistreatment, Hamby hopes that her case will bring about significant changes within the WNBA regarding player pregnancy and maternity. She wants the league to address the gaps that still exist in its policies and ensure that players feel supported and protected when starting families.


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