WNBA Star Skylar Diggins-Smith Denied Access to Phoenix Mercury’s Team Facilities While on Maternity Leave

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Sports Editor
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skylar diggins pregnant

A recent incident has rekindled the debate around motherhood and professional basketball. Skylar Diggins-Smith, the four-time All-Star and Phoenix Mercury guard, revealed on social media that she has been barred from using the team’s facilities and resources during her maternity leave.

Fans Notice Mercury Don’t Wish Diggins-Smith Happy Birthday and The Truth Comes Out

The revelations began after fans noticed that Phoenix failed to publicly recognize Diggins-Smith’s 33rd birthday. Responding to this, Diggins-Smith shared her grievances and elaborated on the lack of support she’s been receiving from the team.

“They’re not gonna acknowledge me this year and it’s ok guys,” she wrote on Twitter. “I can’t even use the practice facility or any resources. But I still love the X-Factor!!”

The situation escalated as Diggins-Smith added more information, stating that she didn’t have access to “any massage therapists, chiropractor, chefs, strength and conditioning, nutritionist accessibility, etc… [that] EVERY other player has access to.”

Diggins-Smith Loses 48lbs Without Team Help

In the last season, Diggins-Smith averaged 19.7 points in 30 games but missed the final four matchups for personal reasons. Later, she announced her pregnancy. Her absence from the court has extended due to maternity leave, during which she claims to have lost 48 pounds and is feeling great, though without the benefits of team resources.

The denial of access to the Mercury’s facilities reportedly stems not from her pregnancy but a tumultuous relationship with the team. Video and online exchanges from last season revealed tensions between Diggins-Smith and some team members and staff.

Pregnancy Proving a League-Wide Issue for WNBA

This incident resonates with a larger issue in the WNBA. Earlier this year, Las Vegas Aces traded Dearica Hamby to the Los Angeles Sparks after she announced her pregnancy. Allegations of discrimination followed, leading to a suspension for Las Vegas coach Becky Hammon.

However, Diggins-Smith’s case differs in its complexity, intertwining personal relationships with the broader context of maternity rights within the league. Under the current collective bargaining agreement, the WNBA requires guaranteed salary and medical benefits until the end of a player’s contract or three months after the birth, leaving other perks at the team’s discretion.

Interestingly, Phoenix Mercury’s record has suffered during Diggins-Smith’s absence. Their struggles culminated in firing their coach in June after a poor start, leading to speculation about the impact of her absence on the team’s performance.

As if to illustrate the point, Phoenix Mercury are currently 500/1 with BetOnline to win the WNBA Championship in 2023.

Diggins-Smith Becoming UFA Soon

Diggins-Smith’s contract with the Mercury will soon make her an unrestricted free agent. This situation, combined with her statements about the team, may signal an impending change in her career path.

In her comments, Diggins-Smith indicated that she’s not in a hurry to return, focusing instead on her recovery and her family.

As the debate over maternity rights in professional sports continues, Diggins-Smith’s case provides a focal point for wider discussions about fairness, support, and the realities faced by athletes who are also mothers. Her courage to speak out adds an important voice to an ongoing conversation that’s bound to shape the future of the WNBA and professional women’s sports as a whole.

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David Evans is a well-established figure in sports journalism, carrying with him an impressive portfolio that stretches over 15 years. His savvy insights and reliable commentary have been spotlighted on esteemed platforms like American Betting Experts and Betting Pro. David's keen interest lies in North Carolina basketball, college football, NFL, soccer, and golf. His insightful pieces reveal a deep understanding of these sports and a subtle flair for strategic analysis. Away from his desk, David prioritizes physical fitness, regularly working out at the gym. His downtime is often spent in the calming company of his cat. David Evans brings to the table a compelling blend of experience, passion, and intuition. A respected name in sports journalism, he continues to deliver quality content that engages and informs his readers.

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