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Locker Room Rant Brings Firing

Sparks GM Penny Toler's speech included obscenities, racial epithets
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2019 5:10 PM CDT
Los Angeles Sparks executive vice president and general manager Penny Toler poses during a news conference in Los Angeles in 2018.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

(Newser) – Penny Toler, GM of the Los Angeles Sparks, has lost her job after giving her team a locker room speech laden with obscenities and racial epithets during the playoffs last month. Toler hadn't disputed her use of the terms, but had said, "By no means did I call my players the N-word." Calling her a “foundational figure in the growth of the WNBA," the Sparks' managing partner said in a statement, "I’d like to thank Penny Toler for a successful and historic tenure with the organization." The team said a search for her replacement would begin immediately, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Coach Derek Fisher is expected to keep his job, per ESPN. Toler, who scored the first points in WNBA history in 1997, had been general managerof the Sparks since 1999. The team won three league championships during her tenure. The league had said on Thursday that it would look into Toler's locker room speech. (Read more WNBA stories.)

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