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A WNBA coach was fined and suspended for trash-talking another player’s weight to a referee during a game.
The league released a statement explaining that the Connecticut Suns head coach and general manager Curt Miller has been banned for one game and fined $10,000 for comments he made on Sunday towards Las Vegas Aces star center Liz Cambage.
The following was announced by the WNBA: pic.twitter.com/aaFvwW2tdw
— WNBA (@WNBA) May 24, 2021
Cambage posted an Instagram story on Monday claiming that Miller mocked her weight as he argued for a foul call during Sunday’s game.
Cambage claims she overheard Miller saying, “C’mon, she’s 300 pounds!” when complaining to the refs about her during Sunday night’s game.
She responded to Miller’s Instagram story after the game with harsh words, even bringing the coach’s race into the situation.
The player hinted at her fans, “something went down” and went on to explain that she’ll “never let a man disrespect me, ever, ever, ever, especially a little white one.”
“I’m weighing 235 pounds (105kg) and I’m very proud of being a big b***h, big body, big benz, baby. So don’t ever try to disrespect me or another woman in the league.”
— W Lead (@WNBALead) May 24, 2021
Miller was suspended for one game and was fined $10,000. Monday morning, he issued an apology to Cambage.
“I made an inappropriate and offensive comment in reference to Liz Cambage’s height and weight,” Miller said via TMZ Sports. “I regret what I said in the heat of the moment and want to sincerely apologize to Liz and the entire Aces organization.”
However, the harsh fine initiated immediate criticism from several WNBA fans and reporters that feel that he shouldn’t have been punished.
Many feel that an apology from Miller should have been sufficient, especially when trash-talking is a normal part of the game.
ESPN columnist, Sarah Spain, voiced her disapproval of the fine of ESPN’s “Around The Horn” program.
.@SarahSpain on Curt Miller's sideline comments about Liz Cambage's weight:
"We want equality in sports, but we can't have it in a vacuum. We do have to respect and understand the way society has imbued women all of our lives with the value of our aesthetics coming first." pic.twitter.com/qsloBCxxuX
— Around The Horn (@AroundtheHorn) May 25, 2021
“But I’m sure she’s used to hearing this, and so for Curt, I don’t think a suspension and a fine is necessary. I think a simple apology is.
We want equality in sports, but we can’t have it in a vacuum, so we do have to respect and understand the way society has imbued women all of our lives with the value of our aesthetics coming first and how that affects our value and our brands when that’s challenged.
But I don’t think he was coming from a bad place. I think he was coming from the same place they were when they used to try and get calls against Shaq in the middle using his body.”
By punishing the coaches and players for their free speech during games, especially when it isn’t a disparaging comment, takes the excitement and grit out of the game. Nonetheless, it’s hypocritical, primarily when the player responds with even worse language.