Former WNBA standout Candice Wiggins has alleged that she was bullied by her fellow professional basketball players for being straight, and that her decision to retire in 2015 came after she realized “[her] spirit was being broken” by the WNBA’s “toxic” culture.
Wiggins, a former WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year and the leading scorer in Pac-10 women’s basketball history, said she had wanted to play professionally for two more years during an explosive interview published on Monday in the The San Diego Tribune. Despite her love of basketball, Wiggins said that the ill treatment she received from other players had made staying in the game impossible.
“People were deliberately trying to hurt me all of the time,” Wiggins recalled. “I had never been called the B-word so many times in my life than I was in my rookie season. I’d never been thrown to the ground so much. The message was: ‘We want you to know we don’t like you.’”
As for why she was given this treatment, Wiggins had a two-part explanation — the extreme competition that takes place for the limited financial resources available in the WNBA, and a predominately gay culture she claimed was hostile to straight women such as herself.
“Me being heterosexual and straight, and being vocal in my identity as a straight woman was huge,” said Wiggins. “I would say 98 percent of the women in the WNBA are gay women. It was a conformist sort of place … There was a lot of jealously and competition, and we’re all fighting for crumbs.”
In a follow-up interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune on Tuesday, Wiggins clarified that her use of the 98 percent figure had been meant as illustration of her point rather than fact. There are no published statistics on the sexuality of the WNBA’s players.
Read the full story at The New York Post.