Finding out you're going to be a mother is like accepting one of the most prestigious jobs in the world, but for women in the athletic industry, it's one that also comes at a very expensive price point.
In May, Allyson Felix, who now holds the record for earning the most gold medals in World Championships history, opened up about how starting a family required her to take a 70% pay cut from her Nike endorsement deal. Recently, in a shocking tweet, WNBA player Skylar Diggins-Smith revealed that she was scoring buckets with a baby full of belly for an entire season due to fear of lack of support from her organization.
The Indiana-born 29-year-old Dallas Wings player started her professional career in 2013 and six years later, after becoming a four-time WNBA All-Star, wife, and mother, spoke her truth via Twitter last weekend.
Athletic companies don't seem to care about Black mothers and athletes like Allyson Felix and Skylar Diggins-Smith refuse to be silent about it any longer. Skylar, who gave birth to her first child in April, first announced her pregnancy last October nearly two months after finishing out the five-month season.
Having no support from your own organization is unfortunate— Skylar Diggins-Smith (@Skylar Diggins-Smith) 1571441969.0
Since then, she has taken maternity leave to focus on her family and received backlash from internet trolls and sports fans alike as a result of her absence. But Skylar had a classy clapback for her critics and opened up about that she had been hiding from the world for months:
"I played the ENTIRE season pregnant last year! All star, and led league (top 3-5) in MPG….didn't tell a soul."
In the tweets, Skylar also revealed that postpartum depression had played a huge part in both her hiatus from the sport and her new journey as a mother. Although WNBA rules state that if a player becomes pregnant, they are entitled to half their salary and have all of their medical bills paid, it's unclear if Skylar's employers kept up their end of the deal because the athlete went on to say that she was offered "limited" resources for recovery. She continued:
"People called me a quitter, said I gave up on my team, etc., etc. Not knowing I took two FULL months away from everything because of postpartum depression. With limited resources to help me be successful mentally/physically."
In response to concerns about Skylar's mental health, Dallas Wings President Greg Bibbs emphasized that the player's health was the organization's first priority and would not be putting any pressure on her to return before she's ready:
"It's 100% up to Skylar. When she says she's ready to go, we're going to welcome her back. Until she's ready to go, she needs to focus on getting herself healthy and getting her family situated and feeling good about all of that."
Although Skylar has decided to sit out most of the 2019 season, she received a full salary while on pregnancy leave, and it's unclear why the previously private athlete decided to speak out now, but whatever is going on behind the scenes, we're glad you're taking care of you, first, sis.
Featured image by Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com