Wiggins’ out-of-bounds claims should be tossed in the trash


Elenie Gonzalez, Staff Reporter

It’s sad when a person tries to tarnish an organization that gives you an opportunity of a lifetime, an opportunity to be a role model and be able to make a living doing what you love.

Candice Wiggins, the former storied WNBA guard, is full of lies when she claimed that she was “bullied for being a straight woman in a league that was 98 percent gay.”

The first problem with that claim is that it is based on unfounded facts. In fact, there is no evidence or research that backs up what she said. Several players and coaches have disputed what she said and no other player has been vocal about a similar experience.

Back in March 2016, Wiggins announced her retirement from the league. She was expected to play two more seasons with the New York Liberty but made an abrupt exit. At the time, she said that her body had been through too much and she could not handle it anymore. Eight surgeries in 15 years can definitely take a toll on anyone’s body. She also expressed that she didn’t love the sport anymore, so it was time for her to go. This seems like a usual reason that almost any player in a professional league says when they retire, but there’s more.

Here is where it gets complicated.

Earlier this year in an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune, Wiggins said that the WNBA culture was “very, very harmful,” “toxic” and it took a toll on her mental state. She blamed the league for pressuring players to “play like a man.”

She claimed that other players tried to deliberately hurt her by pushing her down all the time, and there was a lot of jealousy and competition in the league. She also went as far as saying that her feminine looks and playing skills created tension between her and other players.

“I was proud to be a woman and it didn’t fit well in that culture,” she said.

Now it seems like she’s giving the real reason she decided to retire and it is absolute trash. There are so many things wrong with all her claims. And, understandably, this ignited major backlash.

First of all, what makes her believe that she was the only woman in the WNBA that was proud of being a woman? She’s trying to bring sexuality and sexual orientation into a place where it has no business. To say that her feminine looks were a reason why she was bullied is also ignorant.

Wiggins is reinforcing the completely biased and unfair stereotypes for every player in the WNBA, including any other women or young girls who play sports in general. She’s saying that if you are not straight, then you can’t be proud to be a woman. She’s saying that if you don’t look feminine, then you aren’t woman enough. She is discriminating against everyone in the league that doesn’t fit her own box of what a woman should be. Most of all, she is trying to diminish what those before her, the pioneers in WNBA—Lisa Leslie, Rebecca Lobo, Sheryl Swoops, Becky Hammon and Candace Parker—have done for the league.

For the last 20 years, the WNBA has allowed many young women playing basketball to achieve a life-long dream in an industry that is tough for anyone to get into. They gave her the chance to inspire others like her to keep working toward their dream of becoming a professional basketball player. Yet, she’s being somewhat of a dream-killer, giving the WNBA a bad image to those who aspire to follow in her footsteps. 

One of the reasons, Wiggins said she stayed was because she felt she owed it to her fans. What a hypocrite. All her claims are doing more harm than good. And it doesn’t stop there.

Wiggins is now trying to become a pro beach volleyball player and hopes to one day play in the Olympics. The reason she said, “it’s a celebration of women and the female body as feminine, but strong and athletic.”

Again, she’s discriminating against every single female athlete, young and old, who doesn’t fit her idea of what woman is.

Wiggins is being the bully.

No one should believe what she says. I hope no one buys into her false claims. As cliché as it sounds, women are exceptional human beings, that come in all sizes, shapes and colors. And in this current state, it’s important to remind young women, especially those pursuing their dreams, that they are capable and to continue to build each other up, instead of tearing each other down.