WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury hired Nate Tibbetts After several years of turmoil and a season in which they finished last in the league, the new head coach was appointed in October.Mercury ownership appears to be aiming to Emphasize franchise investment, and hiring Tibbetts as head coach represents another sign of this commitment. But the news is also about pay equity in women’s sports, and how sexism and racism can permeate spaces even when they’re majority-female and majority-Black. It raised some worrying questions.
The hiring of Tibbetts, who is white, reportedly made him the highest-paid coach in WNBA history. The position was held two seasons ago when Becky Hammon, a white woman, was hired to coach the Las Vegas Aces. (Mr. Tibbetts’ salary has not been disclosed, but Hammon’s annual salary is $1 million. and unnamed sources told ESPN Tibbetts would make more money. When asked for comment, Mercury declined to confirm or deny these reports. ) Tibbetts spent several seasons as an assistant coach in the NBA, but she has no experience coaching women’s basketball. For comparison, Hammon played 16 seasons in the WNBA and spent eight seasons as an assistant coach with the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. In her first two seasons coaching the Aces, her team won the WNBA Championship. (Hiring women as coaches obviously doesn’t solve everything. Aces Currently under investigation for pregnancy discrimination Hammon was suspended for two games without pay in May. WNBA found She violated the team’s and league’s workplace respect policies through her comments regarding Dearika Hamby’s pregnancy. )
To add insult to injury, Mercury announced this hire as follows: Tibbetts added that he is “a girl’s dad.” And his father also coached women’s basketball, which seemed to qualify him to coach women’s basketball. real fundamental difference From the way men play.haven’t we learned anything from it? tire fire Was that when Derek Fisher was the head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks? His NBA experience as a coach or player does not necessarily translate to the skills needed to coach the WNBA, both from a basketball technical and cultural perspective. I wrote it before, the idea that men would suddenly care about women’s sports and women’s rights after having a daughter is, frankly, bullshit. You don’t need to have a daughter of your own to understand the value of all women, or to understand that women deserve respect when they are too often denied. (Imagine if “Boy Mama” was used as a qualification for his NBA head coaching job.)
Not surprisingly, the women’s basketball community had a strong reaction to the hire.As former Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw said on X (formerly Twitter):, “Breaking News: A White Man Hires a White Man to Coach His WNBA Team, Making Him the Highest-Paid Coach in the League.” Gender bias is real. (The first white man McGraw is referring to is likely Matt Ishbia, the billionaire mortgage lender who bought majority stakes in both the Mercury and the NBA’s Phoenix Suns in February. )