Nearly one year since announcing her retirement, former WNBA star Candice Wiggins revealed Monday that she was bullied during her time in the league.
According to Tod Leonard of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the former Minnesota Lynx standout said her status as a heterosexual made her a target for criticism:
Me being heterosexual and straight, and being vocal in my identity as a straight woman was huge. 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. 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 called the WNBA culture “toxic” and said it contributed to her retiring two years earlier than she intended.
The Stanford alum won a single WNBA title during her eight-year career and averaged 8.6 points per game with the Lynx, Tulsa Shock, Los Angeles Sparks and New York Liberty.
In addition to getting bullied, Wiggins said playing in the WNBA was difficult because of an overall lack of fan interest in the product.
Now 30 years of age, Wiggins is pursuing a career in professional beach volleyball with an eye toward potentially playing in the Olympics one day.