WNBA Team Fires Coach After Harassment Claims

Bo Overton, the coach and general manager of the Chicago Sky of the WNBA, quit Wednesday after accusations of sexual harassment surfaced on the team’s official Internet message board last week. Steve Key, an assistant for the Sky, takes over both roles without an interim title.

Bo Overton

(Bo Overton)

Margaret Stender, President and CEO of the Chicago Sky, made clear Wednesday that the resignation was not caused directly by the accusations on Chicago Sky Talk, but the allegations were taken seriously.

On March 7th, poster Cinderella asked the following on the message board:

“I do not know why this has not surfaced yet, but last season Bo Overton made several attempts to be as physical with his athletes as they are with Basketball. This was brought to the attention of the Sky staff at the end of last season, and very little has been done. I do not understand how a professional basketball program can support this.”

Also:

“I think when your all-star player says she will not play if Bo Overton stays in Chicago, even requests a trade because he is still present, I think at this point it should become public for everyone to hear about.”

The “all-star” player is not identified, but the only Chicago Sky player on the 2007 WNBA All-Star Game roster was Candice Dupree, a 6′2″ guard from Temple.

Another poster, Cody, identified themselves as a parent of one of the Sky players and verified the claims, suggesting multiple players were harassed by Overton. Multiple posters attacked both Cody and Cinderella for their comments and/or requested proof of the charges.

On March 10th, Stender posted under an admin account to ask for the allegations to be brought to her directly:

“I’m writing to respond to some of the serious and alarming comments that appeared on the message board. Let me state unequivocally that the Chicago Sky organization takes any allegations of sexual harassment extremely seriously. If any of you have any evidence of any acts of sexual harassment, I strongly urge you to share it with me as soon as possible.”

Stender then posts her office number and email address, making it clear that “… when it comes to something as serious as sexual harassment, I believe that gossip and unsubstantiated innuendo do a disservice to all involved.” Two days later, Overton resigned.