Candice Wiggins had by many measures a successful professional basketball career after being selected third overall in the 2008 WNBA draft. However, Wiggins said her time in the league was plagued with bullying and attacks from other players because she wasn’t gay.
Wiggins a native of Baltimore, Md. and raised primarily in San Diego, Calif., was inducted into the San Diego Hall of Champions’ Bretibard Hall of Fame yesterday (Feb. 21), reports the San Diego Tribune. The publication sat down with Wiggins in where she shared details of her time in the WNBA and how players reportedly resented her for being a straight woman in a league she claimed was mostly filled with gay women.
From the Tribune:
Wiggins, a four-time All-American at Stanford, asserts she was targeted for harassment from the time she was drafted by Minnesota because she is heterosexual and a nationally popular figure, of whom many other players were jealous.
“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.
“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 added in the interview that she felt the league pressured players to look and play like men but not embrace their womanhood. She later added that “nobody cares about” the league and that viewership and attendance has been low. Wiggins was the WNBA’s Sixth Woman Of The Year in her rookie season in 2008 and made the All-Rookie team as well. She also won a championship in 2011 as a member of the Minnesota Lynx.
Wiggins retired from the league last year. She is aiming to write about her experiences in the WNBA in an autobiography.