In 2008, Stanford University basketball stand-out Candice Wiggins became the third pick of the WNBA and in 2011 was a champion. But her eight-year tenure in professional basketball was marred, she said, because of the “very, very harmful” lesbian culture running throughout the women’s league. Wiggins said that she retired in 2015 and now estimates that the league is 98 percent lesbian.
In an interview with the San Diego Tribune, Wiggins said, “It wasn’t like my dreams came true in the WNBA. It was quite the opposite.” Wiggins said that playing for the WNBA was harmful to her “mental state.” She said that it is a “depressing state in the WNBA. It’s not watched. Our value is diminished. It can be quite hard. I didn’t like the culture inside the WNBA, and without revealing too much, it was toxic for me. … My spirit was being broken.”
After being subjected to harassment for being heterosexual, Wiggins could not bear the the conformity imposed by the league’s culture. “Me being heterosexual and straight, and being vocal in my identity as a straight woman was huge,” Wiggins said in the interview. “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.”
Wiggins (30) said that the league is struggling with poor ticket sales and television rankings. For example, WNBA reported that its said its average attendance in 2016 was 7,655 — its highest since 2011.
“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.” She claimed that there were players who deliberately hurt her, and that she had never been thrown to the floor so many times or subjected to verbal abuse that became customary. “The message was: ‘We want you to know we don’t like you.’ “