“The W.N.B.A.’s determinations about Becky Hammon are inconsistent with what we know and love about her,” the Aces said, adding that Hammon “forges close personal relationships with her players.”
The team added that it would “stand behind” Hammon as its coach.
In recent years, there has been a major push — by players, fans and league officials — for greater investment in the W.N.B.A., especially in benefits for parents. The league’s latest collective bargaining agreement, signed in 2020, included a wave of new or increased motherhood-related benefits, including full pay during maternity leave, more spacious housing, a $5,000 child care stipend and benefits for adoption and fertility treatments.
The fight for professional athletes who are also parents is still in its infancy.
In May 2022, Sara Björk Gunnarsdottir, an Icelandic soccer player, sued her former team of Lyon over its treatment during her pregnancy. The team did not pay her during her pregnancy, and it failed to uphold its “duty of care” while she was away from the club.
“No one was really checking on me, following up, seeing how I was doing mentally and physically, both as an employee, but also as a human being,” Gunnarsdottir wrote in a piece for The Players’ Tribune. “Basically, they had a responsibility to look after me, and they didn’t.”
Lyon was forced to pay her everything she was owed.
Pregnancy leave was only added to collective bargaining agreements for both the W.N.B.A. and the National Women’s Soccer League in the last few years. The N.W.S.L. agreement, signed in 2022, marked the introduction of eight weeks of paid leave for pregnancy or adoption. There were no previous guidelines for new parents.