Diamond DeShields and other players heard the official use the term “boy” and Wade saw the exchange take place on the court.
Sky general manager and coach James Wade filed an official complaint Wednesday morning with the WNBA office after a white official referred to him in a derogatory manner using the racist term “boy” during Tuesday night’s game at Wintrust Arena.
“I’m a grown man. I have a family and a team and I have a responsibility,” Wade said Tuesday night. “When someone tells one of my players ‘hey explain to your boy,’ I take that personal.”
“That’s what I’ve been dealing with. That’s how people see me.”
A Sky spokesperson said that Wade has been interviewed by NBA security but the WNBA has yet to comment on the situation.
Wade said he always encourages his players to play through bad officiating and to be professional even if others are not. Diamond DeShields and other players heard the official say this and Wade saw the exchange take place on the court.
The team said they hope the league takes swift action on this matter and makes sure there is a zero-tolerance policy for racism in the community and the league.
Tuesday marked a year since George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis sparking movements across the globe that called for unity, an end to police brutality and a dismantling of the systems that perpetuate racism.
Following their game against the Dream, players and Wade reflected on the fact that much is still the same and when they take off their uniforms they are Black in America.
“It’s tough,” Wade said. “This basketball thing is something that can distract you from it because you have a passion for it but you never lose sight of who you are. At the end of the day when I leave the gym, I am who I am and that’s the way it is.”
The loss was the Sky’s second straight and it was in large part due to the Dream’s aggressive style of play on defense that kept the team out of sync. Wade said the Dream were allowed to be aggressive.
The three officials during Tuesday’s game called 43 total fouls. The Dream finished with one less foul call than the Sky.
Wade said it was challenging for his team to get aggressive defensively because it was repeatedly halted by the officiating which he described as shameful and disgraceful. The Sky’s margin for error is very small Wade said.
“I don’t know how good of a coach I can be, or how effective I can be if you look at the game and see how it is,” Wade said. “I’m not going to try and victimize anything but I take it personal. It’s personal. We don’t have any margin for error.”
Of the league’s 12 head coaches, only three are Black. Derek Fisher who coaches the Los Angeles Sparks, Vickie Johnson who coaches the Dallas Wings and Wade.
There are just four women in head coaching positions, Johnson, the Indiana Fever’s Marianne Stanley, the Phoenix Mercury’s Sandy Brondello and the Minnesota Lynx’s Cheryl Reeve.
Next up, the Sky play the Sparks at Wintrust Arena on Friday at 7 p.m. Wade said he does not have a specific date for when he expects Candace Parker to return from her ankle injury.