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WNBPA to investigate Aces over ‘serious concerns’ after Dearica Hamby trade

Dearica Hamby was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks in January. (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

The WNBPA is investigating the Las Vegas Aces after a player raised concerns regarding the conduct of the team’s management.

While the WNBPA did not name the player, the statement came after former Aces player Dearica Hamby claimed in her own statement that the organization treated her in an “unprofessional and unethical” manner due to her pregnancy.

“Being traded is part of the business,” Hamby said in the statement posted on Instagram. “Being lied to, bullied, manipulated, and discriminated against is not.”

The WNBPA will review the matter and “seek a comprehensive investigation to ensure that her rights under the collectively bargained provisions of the 2020 CBA, as well as her rights and protections under state and federal law, have not been violated,” the players association said in its statement.

Under the league’s collective bargaining agreement, players in the WNBA are guaranteed their salary while on maternity leave. Additionally, they are guaranteed two-bedroom apartments by the league and a child-care stipend.

The policy, introduced in the 2020 CBA, was monumental for the league and for women’s sports in general, as it marked a step toward guaranteeing that players can be both mothers and athletes during their careers. The WNBA became the first women’s professional league in the United States to guarantee fully paid maternity leave to players.

More issues surrounding maternity benefits for athletes have arisen over the past week.

On Tuesday, Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir revealed the treatment she received from French club Olympique Lyonnais after becoming pregnant – including withheld pay. FIFA rules established in late 2020 dictate that players receive pregnancy and maternity leave, and the club has been ordered to provide backpay to Gunnarsdóttir.

Many players called out Lyon for the policy, including Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan. Morgan was at the forefront of negotiations for both the USWNT CBA – which stipulates parental leave and protections – and the NWSL CBA, which also has protections for mothers.

In her statement, Hamby wrote that her “honesty was met with coldness, disrespect, and disregard from members of management.”

“To be treated this way by an organization, BY WOMEN who are mothers, who have claimed to ‘be in these shoes,’ who preach family, chemistry and women’s empowerment is disappointing and leaves me sick to my stomach,” Hamby wrote. “We fought for provisions that would finally support and protect player parents. This cannot now be used against me.”