The WNBA has opened an investigation into the Las Vegas Aces over allegations raised by former player Dearica Hamby, who said the organization's treatment of her was "traumatizing."
"The Las Vegas Aces are aware of the formal investigation launched today by the WNBA regarding Dearica Hamby," the team said in a statement. "As an organization whose mission is to support and celebrate the tremendously talented women in our league, we take seriously our responsibility to hold ourselves to the highest professional standards.
"We have been in contact with league investigators to assist with all information requested, and will continue to do so throughout the investigation. Due to the ongoing investigation, the organization will have no further comment at this time."
During her introductory press conference with the Los Angeles Sparks on Feb. 1, Hamby said that the Women's National Basketball Players Association had also opened an investigation into the conduct of Las Vegas Aces' management prior to trading Hamby in January.
"As of now, it's just an investigation," Hamby said. "I'm not going to speak too much on the situation, what was said, the things that were done, but I'm confident the league will do what they need to do.
"It's a process that has to happen. For now, I'm going to leave it at what I said in my statement, and the [Players Association] is doing their part right now, and then we'll see."
Hamby, who was traded from the Aces to the Sparks on Jan. 21, blasted the Aces for "traumatizing" her in an explosive statement posted to Instagram hours after the deal went through. Later that night, the WNBPA announced that it had begun an investigation into the Aces' conduct after an unnamed player raised "serious concerns." As widely believed, that player was confirmed to be Hamby.
Hamby claimed the Aces were dishonest with her during contract negotiations this summer, adding that they falsely accused her of signing an extension while knowingly pregnant. The two-time Sixth Player of the Year announced her second pregnancy after the Aces won their first-ever WNBA title last September, prompting Aces management to question her commitment to the team because, according to Hamby, they didn't "expect" her to get pregnant within the following two years.
"I was asked if I planned my pregnancy," Hamby wrote. "When I responded, 'no,' I was then told that I 'was not taking precautions to not get pregnant.' I was being traded because 'I wouldn't be ready and we need bodies.' I planned to play this season, and I have expressed my desire to play this season. I have pushed myself throughout my entire pregnancy and have continued to work out (basketball included) on my own and with the team staff -- even on days where it was uncomfortable to walk, only to be inaccurately told that 'I was not taking my workouts seriously.'"
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Hamby claimed she "remained transparent" with the team only for her honesty to be "met with coldness, disrespect, and disregard from members of management." The 29-year-old found the treatment to be particularly troubling because it came from women who espoused values that support other women.
"The unprofessional and unethical way I have treated has been traumatizing," Hamby wrote. "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."
During her press conference, Hamby reaffirmed her hopes to play this season. "As far as the timeline, I'm gonna do what feels right and in the moment I'm not sure what will happen," Hamby said. "I'll of course plan to have a healthy labor and delivery, and if that goes as planned I'll be back on the court soon."