Last March, Candice Wiggins ended her WNBA while playing for the NY Liberty. The announcement came as a shock to many because she was up for a contract extension. Wiggins joined the WNBA in 2008 and even won a championship with the Minnesota Lynx, but says her retirement came early because she couldn’t take the toxicity of the league.
Wiggins, in an interview with the San Diego Tribune, said she was routinely bullied because she was heterosexual and in a league where the majority of the players are lesbians.
“Me being heterosexual and straight, and being vocal in my identity as a straight woman was huge,” Wiggins said. “I would say 98 percent of the women in the WNBA are gay women. It was a conformist type of place. There was a whole different set of rules they (the other players) could apply.”
Wiggins said not only was she routinely called a bitch, but was also physically abused by teammates.
“There was a lot of jealousy and competition, and we’re all fighting for crumbs,” Wiggins said. “The way I looked, the way I played – those things contributed to the tension.
“People were deliberately trying to hurt me all of the time. 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.’ “
Wiggins said her 8-year career left her broken down and the WNBA encouraged its players to act and look like men.
“It comes to a point where you get compared so much to the men, you come to mirror the men,’ she said. “So many people think you have to look like a man, play like a man to get respect. I was the opposite. I was proud to a be a woman, and it didn’t fit well in that culture.”