Sky's James Wade Allegedly Called Racially Derogatory Term by Ref; CHI File Complaint

Adam WellsMay 26, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 15: Head coach James Wade of the Chicago Sky looks on against the Washington Mystics during the first half at Entertainment & Sports Arena on May 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Chicago Sky filed a complaint with the WNBA on Tuesday night after head coach James Wade was allegedly called a racially derogatory term by an official during a game. 

Wade told reporters after a 90-83 loss to the Atlanta Dream that one of the officials referred to him as "boy" when talking to one of the Sky's players. 

“I’m a grown man,” said Wade.. “I have a family and I have a responsibility. I have a team and I have a responsibility. So when someone tells one of your players, ‘Explain to your boy,’ yeah, I take that personal."

Per Nadra Kareem Nittle of ThoughtCo.com, the term "boy" to describe a Black man has historically been used by white people as a way to suggest the two aren't on equal footing.

A spokesperson for the Sky told Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune that players "heard the official use the derogatory reference and that Wade saw the exchange."

Ryan noted that Wade didn't say which player the official was talking to, nor did he say at what point in the game it allegedly occurred. 

Wade is in his third season as head coach and general manager of the Sky. The 45-year-old Tennessee native has led them to the playoffs in each of the past two years and was named WNBA Coach of the Year in his first season. 

Chicago has lost two straight games after winning its first two games of the 2021 season.