Chicago Sky assistant coach Bridget Pettis resigns over safety concerns with WNBA start

Pettis joined the Chicago Sky coaching staff in 2019

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Bridget Pettis resigned her position as a Chicago Sky assistant coach on Saturday following concerns over the WNBA’s handling of its season start and social unrest around the country.

Pettis will instead focus her attention on Project Roots AZ, a non-profit she founded in December 2019 to both support the homeless and educate the public on sustainable food growth.

“I asked a lot of questions that not too many people were happy about,” Pettis said in a press release on the Project Roots AZ Facebook page. “I discovered that some medical staff of teams not only believe it’s not safe, but also the women don’t have enough resources as they believe we should unlike the NBA going into this bubble,” said Pettis. “If the WNBA cannot upgrade the situation even more with safety I feel the WNBA should wait and play the following season. Why put ourselves and players in Florida as cases increase?”

Florida has seen a surge in coronavirus cases and has reported more than 10,000 new cases for four straight days. The WNBA will begin its season in Bradenton, Florida later this month. best, where Bradenton is located, had 293 new cases on Saturday, breaking the county record set on Friday.

In the press release, Pettis said the WNBA should use its platform this year to help its communities and she encouraged others to “jump in 100%” on a project they are passionate about.

“I definitely understand the WNBA is a business, but we need healthy players for this type of business to function properly,” Pettis said. “We [Project Roots AZ] seek to provide and promote a healthier, natural, and more sustainable way of living in urban areas where there is a need. This is the right decision for me and others as we move forward during the pandemic.

Pettis has been a fixture in the league after first being drafted by the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA’s inaugural year in 1997, and then beginning her coaching career with the Mercury in 2006. She later became director of basketball operations for Phoenix and had assistant coaching stops with the Los Angeles Sparks and the Dallas Wings before joining the Sky in early 2019.

“We will miss Bridget and wish her well in her future endeavors,” general manager and head coach James Wade said in a press release. “With everything that has happened in 2020, this has been a rocky year for everyone, but we will do as everyone else has continued to do, and that is continue to push forward. We look forward to coming together as a group and doing what we love down in Florida.”

Assistant coaches Olaf Lange and Emre Vatansever will join Wade for the upcoming 2020 WNBA season.