Penny Toler
Former Sparks GM Penny Toler. Image Credit: AP

Los Angeles: Penny Toler’s more than two-decade tenure with the Sparks as a player and executive ended on Friday when the team fired her in the aftermath of a profanity-laced tirade directed at players following a play-off loss, which included a racial slur.

“On behalf of ownership and the entire Sparks organisation, I’d like to thank Penny Toler for a successful and historic tenure with the organisation,” Sparks managing partner Eric Holoman said in a statement.

“Penny is a foundational figure in the growth of the WNBA and helped lead our franchise to perennial play-off success and multiple titles. We wish her nothing but the best moving forward.”

The team are coming off a three-game sweep by Connecticut in the semi-finals, following a 22-12 season and their eighth straight play-off appearance.

Toler entered the locker room after Game 2 of the series on September 19 and challenged the team in a speech that included not only obscenities and racial epithets, but also threats that players would be replaced.

Toler admitted using the offensive language but told ESPN the epithet “wasn’t directed at any of my players”.