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Kayte Christensen: Why I Disagree With Candice Wiggins

Candice Wiggins came out recently and had some very interesting and inflammatory remarks about the WNBA and her experience during the course of her 8-year career.

The No. 3 overall pick out of Stanford in 2008, former 6th Woman of the Year and 2011 WNBA Champion with the Minnesota Lynx spoke with the San Diego Tribune in a piece that came out earlier this week about what she called a "harmful" culture of bullying and jealousy.

You can read the piece linked above but I'll go through some of the points that really hit home with me.

I played the in WNBA for 6 seasons before a career ending injury.  I never personally experienced or witnessed the "harmful" culture Wiggins portrayed in her interview, nor have I heard of such a thing from anyone else that has put on a WNBA uniform.

Wiggins said that many players were jealous of her because she is "heterosexual and straight, and [is] vocal in [her] identity as a straight woman". That perception of course looks to have severely shaped her experience in the WNBA.

Well, I'm also a straight woman who was in a serious relationship throughout the course of my 6-year career (which would qualify as being "vocal in my identity as a straight woman") and never ONCE was there an issue with that. Never once was there any form of jealousy or bullying. My boyfriend and I were not only welcomed with open arms but we both spent significant time with my teammates off the court.

Is it possible that I was the exception? Hardly. I had multiple straight teammates who's husbands and boyfriends shared the same experience.

There's also something else Wiggins said that makes one thing very clear to me...she DID NOT study math at Stanford.

"I would say 98 percent of the women in the WNBA are gay women." said Wiggins.

I'll be honest. Math is not a strong suit of mine. But basic arithmetic is something I can manage.

There are 120 women in the WNBA. If 98% of them were gay that means there are less than 3 straight women in the entire league.

Get the hell out of here Candice. You've lost your damn mind. That's just not true. And even if it was, who cares?!

The crazy thing about all the garbage Wiggins has spewed about her former employer and co-workers is that the WNBA from day one has been one of the most (if not the most) inclusive environments in professional sports. And that goes from the women on the court, coaches on the bench and executives in the front offices to the fans in stands.

Now lets address the statement "There was a lot of jealousy and competition, and we're all fighting for crumbs."

Well that's true in one part. News flash, it's professional sports. Duh! You go from being the best player on your college team to competing for a spot on a team with grown women from all over the globe whose livelihood is performance based.

So yes, things are going to be physical. In fact, I made my living off of being physical. You either step up to the plate or step aside, someone else is banging down the door right behind you.

But for Wiggins to take it a step further and say "The way I looked, the way I played – those things contributed to the tension," is just another example of a deluded individual who apparently doesn't understand the dynamics of professional sports.

The way you look?? I can't. I just can't with this crap!

Three things in this whole piece stick out to me.

  1. The glaring appearance of blatant homophobia to the extent that being around others whose sexual identity differs from your own makes you so uncomfortable it alters your own experience in a negative way.  I will concede (an HOPE) that may not have been the intent behind these remarks. But this is why you think before you speak. The cat is out of the bag now so good luck walking this one back if it was in fact a mistake.
  2. When someone talks about the way they look working against them it screams EGO. I've got three words for you...get over yourself! You thought life in the WNBA was hard? If that's how you look at yourself then life after isn't going to be any easier.
  3. When all is said and done, this comes down to one thing and one thing only. Someone is trying to garner publicity for an upcoming book.

The funny thing is Candice Wiggins just pulled a Plaxico Burress.

When you come out and say no one watches the WNBA you're inadvertently pulling the trigger and shooting yourself in the leg.  That's what happens when you carry around a loaded weapon with no common sense.

My advice to Wiggins...hire a public relations expert. She just alienated the very demographic (limited as it may be) that has supported her for the last 8 years and would have any interest in paying to read about her experiences during her playing career.

I'm sure you've figured out by now I'm truly pissed over this whole debacle. But I truly wish the best to Candice Wiggins as she proceeds to prepare herself for a career playing on the professional beach volleyball circuit.

In the meantime, she should refrain from bashing a league that has been an honor for myself, other former and current players to be associated with. When all is said and done, I can guarantee one thing. We will all stand in front of this assault.

It's unwarranted, disgusting and petty. Don't be that person, it's not a good look.

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