Skylar Diggins-Smith Says WNBA Team Failed To Support Her During Pregnancy
The team disagrees, saying that they opted to pay her entire salary during the season she missed, although they were only required to pay half of it.
October 22, 2019 at 2:35 pm
Skylar Diggins-Smith, a WNBA star, told fans on Twitter about the challenges of being pregnant while playing a professional sport.
ESPN reported she played the entire 2018 WNBA season while pregnant without telling anyone. She later took two months away in the summer to deal with postpartum depression.
Diggins-Smith was critical of the Dallas Wings organization for not supporting her after giving birth, but she didn’t specify any details.
“Having no support from your organization is unfortunate,” she tweeted.
Having no support from your own organization is unfortunate— Skylar Diggins-Smith (@SkyDigg4) October 18, 2019
The Dallas Wings, in a statement addressing the new mom's tweets, said players' situations are confidential. In their statement, they said licensed psychologists were previously provided to the team once they relocated from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Dallas in 2016.
“These professionals have worked with our players in a team setting, and also have been made available to our athletes on a one-on-one basis,” team president and CEO Greg Bibb said. “We support our athletes in getting the care they need, whether that's physical or mental in nature.”
Diggins-Smith continued to share her thoughts in a series of tweets.
“The blasts that disrespect of mothers (and our rights) in the WNBA is incredible. I can't wait until you hear my story FROM ME!”
I played the ENTIRE season pregnant last year! All star, and led league (top 3-5) in MPG....didn’t tell a soul.— Skylar Diggins-Smith (@SkyDigg4) October 19, 2019
People called me a quitter, said I gave up on my team, etc., etc.— Skylar Diggins-Smith (@SkyDigg4) October 19, 2019
Not knowing I took two FULL months away from everything because of postpartum depression. With limited resources to help me be successful mentally/physically.
But just wait though....KEEP THAT SAME ENERGY.
The 29-year-old first publicly announced she was pregnant in October 2018. She then told reporters in Dallas on May 5 that she'd had a son “a few weeks ago,” but didn't specify a date.
Diggins-Smith didn't play during the 2019 season but was paid her full salary while remaining on the team's roster.
Bibb told media outlets, including ESPN, during the 2019 season that Diggins-Smith was not on any specific timeline to return to the Dallas Wings. The WNBA is required to pay a player on pregnancy leave half their salary, according to the collective bargaining agreement, but the organization opted to pay all of it.
“In terms of Skylar, that situation remains the same. It's 100% up to Skylar,” Bibb said in August. “We're going to support her and her timeline and when she says she's ready to go, we're going to welcome her back. Until she's ready to go, she needs to focus on getting herself healthy and getting her family situated and feeling good about all of that.”
Other Black star athletes have opened up about the difficulties of being pregnant while playing professional sports.
In 2018, Serena Williams opened up about having postpartum depression after having her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian.
Allyson Felix, an Olympic track runner, made headlines earlier this year when she criticized Nike, one of her former sponsors, for not wanting to pay her properly if and when she became pregnant. She is one of many female athletes, including Alysia Montaño and Kara Goucher, to condemn Nike’s maternity policies.
Nike responded by changing its contract policies. Felix has since signed a sponsorship contract with Athleta.