When black people use the N-Word, it can be interpreted in different ways, but not as offensive. We’ve seen white people lose their jobs over using it because they use it in a racist manner. But recently L.A Sparks General Manager Penny Toler, who is a black woman, was fired from her position over using the N-word during a rant after a Sparks loss.
“It’s unfortunate I used that word,” Toler told ESPN after the Sparks lost to the Connecticut Sun last month during a playoff game. “I shouldn’t. Nobody should but you know, like I said, I’m not here to defend word by word by word what I said. I know some of the words that I’m being accused of are embellished.”
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Toler said the way she used the word was taken out of context.
“By no means did I call my players the N-word,” Toler said when speaking to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne after she was let go. “I’m not saying that I couldn’t have used it in a context. But it wasn’t directed at any of my players.”
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Toler spent 20 seasons with the Sparks, seeing them through 18 playoff appearances and three championship titles. She also played from the Sparks from 1997 to 1999. Toler also made WNBA history when she made the league’s first basket.
“Toler was relieved of her duties and will no longer be with the organization, effective immediately,” the Sparks said in a statement. “A national search will begin immediately to identify the next general manager of the Sparks. Managing Partner and Governor Eric Holoman will assume the duties in the interim.”
WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said “that type of language reportedly used has no place in our league.”
“The WNBA takes pride in being one of the most diverse leagues in professional sports that fosters an inclusive and respectful environment. We thank Penny for her contributions to the WNBA through her service to the Sparks organization and as a player over two decades.”
Toler had been the General Manager since 1999.
This story was originally published on MadameNoire.com.
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