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WNBA Coach Suspended & Fined for Body-Shaming Player on the Court

Liz Cambage #8 of the Las Vegas Aces catches a pass under pressure from Beatrice Mompremier #1 of the Connecticut Sun during their game

A WNBA coach has been suspended for a game and fined $10,000 after making inappropriate comments about a player’s weight during a recent game.

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Connecticut Sun head coach and general manager Curt Miller was called out by Las Vegas Aces player Liz Cambage in an Instagram video for his offensive comment. During Sunday’s game, Miller was apparently trying to get a call from the ref against Cambage and in frustration, she says he yelled “Come on, she 300 pounds” in reference to her.

First of all, Cambage is far from 300 pounds. Secondly, it wouldn’t matter if she were. No matter her weight, the comment was inappropriate since it was intended to be disparaging regarding her body.

In her Instagram video, Cambage doesn’t name Miller (“I’m sorry, little sir man, I do not know your name”) but refers to him by his title so there’s no question who she’s talking about.

“Something went down in today’s game and I need to speak on it,” she began. “Because if there’s one thing about me, it’s that I will never let a man disrespect me ever! Ever. Ever. Especially a little white one.”

As for Miller’s declaration that she weighs 300 pounds, Cambage says, “I’m going to need you to get it right, baby. Cause I’m 6’8.” I’m weighing—I just double-checked, cause I love to be correct and get facts—I’m weighing 235 pounds and I’m very proud of being a big bitch, big body, big Benz, baby. So don’t ever try to disrespect me or another woman in the league.”

Cambage said that Miller was “so lucky it was during a game” and that she was “out there doing my job” when he made the comment. She came back with another video later to expand on that part, though. Because while trash talk between players is common, it’s not just inappropriate coming from coaches, but the power imbalance and the fact that players can’t take their focus off the game to respond amounts to what Cambage calls “protected abuse.”

Miller has issued a statement apologizing, calling his comment “inappropriate and offensive.”

“I regret what I said in the heat of the moment and want to sincerely apologize to Liz and the entire Aces organization,” the statement reads. “I understand the gravity of my words and have learned from this.”

As you might expect, there are a lot of white people mad online right now that Cambage is “allowed” to insult Miller’s body while Miller gets punished for insulting hers. (“Where is you?” Cambage jokes in her video because to her at 6’8″, she can’t even see him, he’s so “tiny.”)

As usual, this faux outrage isn’t worth engaging with because it so clearly comes from a place of bad faith but just in case anyone is actually, genuinely confused, these incidents are not the same! One took place on Instagram while the other took place at their shared workplace.

It also goes back to that “protected abuse” Cambage mentioned. She was not in a position to be able to defend herself or comment back due to the structure of the game, but that power imbalance extends to the entire institution where this took place. The WNBA is progressive but it is still overwhelmingly male and white in its coaches and ownership.

You can think that Cambage’s comments about Miller were disrespectful; I just wonder why she is expected to show him respect after the way he talked about her in the first place.

(via The Root, New York Times, image: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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