Sky coach and general manager James Wade said he has never had any negative interactions with this official before this exchange and has not spoken to him since.
Two weeks after a WNBA official used disrespectful language to address Sky coach and general manager James Wade, he is back at work.
The official worked the game between the Wings and the Dream on May 27, one day after the Sky filed a complaint with the WNBA.
He is listed as the referee in tonight’s game between the Wings and the Mercury in Phoenix after an 11-day hiatus. It is unclear whether this break was a suspension because a league spokesperson said, “We generally do not comment on discipline around officiating.”
A league spokesperson confirmed that the WNBA had completed its investigation but the results were not disclosed.
In a video sent to the league by the Sky, the official can be seen walking directly up to Diamond DeShields following a timeout and communicating something to her before quickly walking away.
“Hey explain to your boy,” is the comment that was made to DeShields.
Other Sky players heard the exchange and Wade can be seen monitoring the situation from the bench during the team’s 90-83 loss to the Atlanta Dream on May 25.
Wade confirmed the league was conducting an investigation into the comments two weeks ago. The league itself never said there was an ongoing investigation until confirming it was over. Wade and DeShields were both interviewed by league security as part of the investigation.
The team said immediately after filing the complaint that it hoped the league would take swift action and adhere to a zero-tolerance policy for racism.
The term “boy” has historically been used as a racist term toward Black men. A day after the official used the term, Wade said he didn’t know if that was the intention behind it but that it was disrespectful and has no place in the league.
Since then Wade has said he’s talked to the league and has moved beyond it.
“The league told me they were handling the situation,” Wade said. “I trust them. I feel like they have everyone’s best interest at heart. I don’t know exactly what happened but I trust them.”
Wade said he has never had any negative interactions with this official before this exchange and has not spoken to him since.
The Sky are on a seven-game skid with a game against the Fever at Wintrust Arena on Wednesday night. The biggest contributing factor to the losing streak has been the team’s 38.3% field goal percentage. Wade said a focus during back-to-back practices ahead of Wednesday’s game was simplifying the offense to allow for more movement and spacing in the halfcourt.
Candace Parker is expected to make her home debut Wednesday after a sprained ankle kept her sidelined for eight games.
Parker participated in her first full practice Wednesday and team trainers will see how her ankle responds before her status for the game is officially determined.
“There’s going to be a lot of timing and rhythm things that will take some time,” Wade said. “But she’s Candace Parker.”