Former Los Angeles Sparks general manager Penny Toler filed a lawsuit against the team on Tuesday, alleging that her firing in October—for using inappropriate language during a locker room tirade—was actually in retaliation for exposing inappropriate relationships within the organization.
In her suit, Toler insists that she is a victim of gender discrimination and that if she were a man, she would still be employed by the Sparks. There’s also the dispute over why she was terminated, which Yahoo Sports explains:
Toler said her termination had more to do with retaliation “after raising complaints about the workplace conduct” of former team president Christine Simmons and team managing partner and governor Eric Holoman, “who were engaged in an extra-marital affair” during Simmons’ tenure as team president—a relationship Toler said made doing her job difficult.
Though Simmons left the Sparks in 2018, Toler maintains that Simmons still had influence on organizational decisions, including a time where Toler attempted to trade a player but was unable to do so because Holoman blocked the trade—allegedly because Simmons and the player were close.
Toler’s lawsuit also claims that since joining the team when it was first founded in 1997, sexual relationships occurred within the organization, including: Simmons and a ball boy, and former coach Brian Agler and an unidentified player. She insists that when Agler’s inappropriate relationship was brought up to Sparks management to investigate, it was never properly addressed. She also said that the former coach’s “sexually predatory conduct caused certain Sparks players to complain that he made them uncomfortable, and compelled other Sparks players to leave the team altogether.”
Agler eventually resigned in 2018 and currently coaches the Dallas Wings.
“I wasn’t part of the clique,” Toler told the Associated Press. “Every day people would have no idea what I went through here working for the Sparks after they were acquired by this ownership.”
This sounds like a whole ass mess that the courts will now try to get to the bottom of.
Simmons and Agler were reportedly unavailable for comment, and Holoman told the Associated Press that he was unaware of any lawsuit being filed.