On Thursday (August 3), Skylar Diggins-Smith took to Twitter (now known as X) to voice her frustrations with the Phoenix Mercury and their mishandling of her maternity leave. The newly-minted 33-year-old gave birth to her second child a few months ago and hasn’t played a game since August 4 of last year.
It all started when a fan questioned the Mercury over not wishing Diggins-Smith – who is under contract with the team – a happy birthday the day prior. The fan called it ‘disgraceful’ that they couldn’t ‘pretend to wish’ her a happy birthday and described it as an ‘irreseponsible action that could’ve been avoided.’
“They’re not gonna acknowledge me this year and it’s ok guys. We’re not affiliated unless it’s the checks – per management,” Diggins-Smith wrote in response to the tweet – further adding that she ‘can’t even use the practice facility or any resources,’ but still has love for the X-Factor (the nickname for Mercury fans).
When another fan expressed their shock over Skylar Diggins-Smith not being allowed to use the team’s practice facility, she claimed it wasn’t just the practice facility that was taken from her – they also took the ‘massage therapists, chiropractor, chefs, strength and condition, nutritionist accessibility,’ and much more.
“It was all good when I was leaving for personal time!!” Skylar continued – referring to last year, when she sat out the team’s final 4 games of the year for personal reasons. “But when I’m leaving bc I was having complications and scared of risking my child….while leading the league in minutes [pregnant]. Trade her?”
Despite not having access to things that ‘EVERY other player has access to,’ Diggins-Smith isn’t allowing it to stop her from working her way back to the court. The 6-time All-Star point guard confirmed that she’s ‘still down 48lbs on my own’ and is ‘feeling great’ after giving birth to her second child sometime in Spring.
The news comes just a few months after fellow WNBA player, Dearica Hamby, accused her former team (Las Vegas Aces) of mistreating her while on maternity leave – prior to the team trading her. Aces’ head coach, Becky Hammon, was suspended two games for violating ‘Respect in the Workplace’ policies.
Mercury Head Coach Responds to Skylar Diggins-Smith
It has almost been a week since Skylar Diggins-Smith slammed the Phoenix Mercury for not giving their players access to team facilities and resources while on maternity leave. Unfortunately, the team has yet to make a statement and are sweeping the allegations under the rug – just like they did to her birthday.
While the team hasn’t said anything, her head coach – Nikki Blue – shared a brief comment ahead of their game on Thursday (August 3). “Skylar is on maternity leave right now and as we do with players on maternity leave, we give them their space,” she said before changing topics and talking about the game.
Terry Jackson – the executive director of the WNBPA – also commented on the situation and confirmed that the WNBA players association ‘has been in regular contact with Skylar through her representation throughout the year’ and will ‘continue to support her’ as she continues to make her return to the court.
As for her future with the Phoenix Mercury, Skylar Diggins-Smith is on the final year of her contract with the team – which they have to pay in-full as a result of the latest CBA agreement. Considering how the team has treated her this past season, there’s a good chance we see her with a different team next year.
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