Skylar Diggins-Smith will still fight for moms; not looking to leave Dallas Wings

1:04 AM ET


CloseMechelle Voepel covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.

STANFORD, Calif. — Skylar Diggins-Smith said she will continue to work toward better conditions for working moms in the WNBA, but that she is not actively trying to get away from the Dallas Wings.

Diggins-Smith spoke Friday after the USA Basketball women’s national team’s practice at Stanford, where the Americans will play an exhibition game Saturday against the Cardinal. Diggins-Smith addressed the Twitter remarks she made last month in which she expressed frustration with a “lack of support” from the Wings franchise.

Diggins-Smith gave birth to a son earlier this year and did not play for the Wings this WNBA season, although she was paid her full salary. The WNBA and the players’ union are currently in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement, and Diggins-Smith said she thinks issues involving the league’s mothers have to be given more priority.

“I usually don’t use Twitter as a journal about what I’m thinking; I try not to emotional-tweet,” Diggins-Smith said of her remarks. “But I think that day I had just … I got it off my chest. I’m ready to put some action towards the conditions for working moms in the league and every industry.”

Diggins-Smith, 29, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. But under the previous CBA rules, Dallas could still give her the “core player” designation, which would prevent her from being a free agent for 2020 and guarantee her a maximum salary with the Wings. Diggins-Smith said her remarks weren’t intended as a message to the Wings that she wanted to leave.

“Sometimes when you’re not being heard, you’ve got to shout,” she said. “I’ve never told the Wings that I didn’t want to play for them next year. I said the conditions of our organization need to be improved. I was very transparent. We haven’t had a conversation about free agency or about coring, because we don’t really know [with the CBA still being negotiated].

“I’ve been with the organization the longest. I’ve always felt like I’ve shown loyalty to Dallas, so when I’m asking for things, that stuff should be reciprocated. I’m going to continue to fight for this.”

Diggins-Smith tweeted last month that she dealt with postpartum depression, and felt there were inadequate resources for her. Wings team president and CEO Greg Bibb said the team has employed licensed psychologists for all players since the franchise moved from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Dallas in 2016.

“These professionals have worked with our players in a team setting, and also have been made available to our athletes on a one-on-one basis,” Bibb said last month.

Diggins-Smith said it is difficult to describe what she went through emotionally over the summer, saying she feels now like she’s “coming out of a cave.”

“Everybody’s situation is different,” she said. “Some people don’t have any postpartum depression. Some people have it for a couple of years.”

Diggins-Smith also said child care and other things to help working moms are not the same at various WNBA franchises.

“I’ve already reached out to a few moms. As we negotiate with the CBA, how can we improve things?” Diggins-Smith said. “It’s about prioritization; we can’t have everything. But I’m going to bring that portion to the table because I’m a mom.”

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