(Reuters) - The general manager of the Los Angeles Sparks Women’s NBA team was fired on Friday after ESPN reported that she made racially insensitive remarks in a profanity-laced rant at the players.
Penny Toler’s tirade came after the Sparks last month lost game two of their WNBA semi-finals against the Connecticut Sun, who went on to sweep the series 3-0.
Toler, who is African-American, acknowledged in an interview with ESPN on Thursday that she had used a racial epithet but said her remarks were not directed at the players.
“By no means did I call my players the n-word,” she said.
“I’m not saying that I couldn’t have used it in a context, but it wasn’t directed at any of my players.”
Toler had been with the organization since 1999
Sparks managing partner and governor Eric Holoman said in a statement: “On behalf of ownership and the entire Sparks organization, I’d like to thank Penny Toler for a successful and historic tenure with the organization,” .
“Penny is a foundational figure in the growth of the WNBA and helped lead our franchise to perennial playoff success and multiple titles.”
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ken Ferris