What if I told you that a hometown kid would come home and help deliver a championship to their city — for a franchise that has never won a championship — against the very same team that prevented that hometown team from winning a title seven years ago?
What Candace Parker did for the Chicago Sky has all the makings of an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, but for the W (WNBA), the honeymoon will be short-lived as a part of the team’s offseason, despite the Sky’s Hollywood ending, will be spent focusing on addressing some off-court issues.
If you were following along on WNBA Twitter after Sunday’s night game, then you probably saw that the Phoenix Mercury declined to do media after the game, along with reports that Diana Taurasi broke a door in the locker room.
Between her play and personality, the Finals were an up-and-down series for Taurasi. Her “We pay for everything. This is the WNBA. We pay for it,” comments about her frustrations with the league’s travel constraints led to the league chartering flights for both the Sky and Mercury in the Finals. But Taurasi also bickered with referees throughout the series, and was fined $2,500 for pushing an official.
A fine, a broken door, and a bailout on talking to the media is a bad look for a player whom fans just named the greatest player in the league’s history. And no matter how you feel about Taurasi and her antics — or her play — the league has to address it. It’s another example of “player behavior” that’s been hanging over the W after footage was released of Atlanta Dream players getting into a fight earlier this year.
“This is a tough situation for everyone involved. No one feels good or happy about what transpired,” Dream co-owner Renee Montgomery recently said. According to her, the team didn’t know the extent of the fight when it originally happened in May, which is why Dream teammates Courtney Williams and Crystal Bradford weren’t disciplined. But when the video hit social media a few weeks ago, things changed.
“I know a lot of people want information, but right now, the league is involved,” Montgomery explained. “We’re dealing with a process that’s going to involve the league and the WNBPA. So we have to respect that.”
That team, whose activism helped rid the league of a racist owner and put Raphael Warnock in the Senate — which, in turn, had a huge impact on the presidential election — is now dealing with this.
And Taurasi, one of the faces of the sport, is now making headlines for keeping an icy relationship with officials, breaking a door, and leading a team that didn’t talk to the media after losing in the Finals. And this is a player who has a history of being extremely chatty and open when it comes to answering questions.
Somewhere, all the people who hate women’s basketball — people who hate how this progressive this league has been when it comes to racial and social issues — are loving this. It’s odd.
The NFL is dealing with Jon Gruden and still lying about what’s in those emails found in the course of the Washington Football Team investigation. The NBA has become the face of anti-vaxxers due to Kyrie Irving’s refusal to get the shot, as his team will play its first game of the season on Tuesday without him. Major League Baseball is still employing racist commentators who make slavery references during games, and are probably praying the team that was in the middle of a cheating scandal (Houston Astros) a few years ago don’t make the World Series.
Does the W have some minor issues they need to address?
But looking at some of the other pro sports leagues, could it be worse?
What does this prove?
That even at “their worst,” women are still so much better than men.