Scapegoating Carter Glosses Over Deeper Issues in Atlanta


2020 was a season unlike any other. The Atlanta Dream created a league-wide protest against then-owner Kelly Loeffler that led to her losing an election. Months later, Loeffler was forced to sell the team. Some would have expected that after all of that, this season was going to be much calmer. If you thought that, you have not been paying attention to the Dream.

The most notable issue has been centered around a much-discussed conflict between Chennedy Carter and multiple unnamed teammates. This boiled over in an altercation on the bench during a game prior to the Olympic break. Carter has since been suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team. She has been made the scapegoat for everything that is wrong with the Dream 16 months after being drafted to be the face of the franchise.

Leadership Void

The issues with the Dream go far beyond the personality of any one player. Nicki Collen was hired as the Baylor Head Coach two days before the team’s first preseason game. She was replaced by Mike Petersen, an assistant coach on the staff. He never seemed happy to be there and stepped down during the Olympic break, citing health issues. Further complicating matters, the Dream fired their general manager and president, Chris Sienko, three weeks before the start of the preseason. For a team in transition, this much instability can quickly lead to mass deterioration on and off the court.

None of this is to say that Chennedy Carter is blameless. The second-year guard has had questions about her attitude for a while at this point and has not been afraid to be vocal about where she stands. However, the fact that the rest of the veterans on a team jumped to blame her for the problems they are facing is a big issue. The team’s personalities have not blended well at all.

The Other Side

Courtney Williams has been on the other side of the controversy surrounding the Dream. However, she is facing none of the same reproaches. Issues between the two have been chronicled as far back as the bubble a year ago. The two were arguing on camera at practice during the documentary “144”. Williams is a veteran with a checkered past. This led her to be quick to correct the record on what is going on in Atlanta. Be that as it may, the emotional chemistry is flawed and it falls on the first-time All-Star just as much as it does on Carter.

After all of the change from a season ago, this was supposed to be the start of something new for the Dream. The ownership group headlined by former champion and All-Star Renee Montgomery infused positivity within the organization, and seeing Williams make the leap to All-Star has been a revelation. However, there is still the fact that the organization drafted Carter’s potential replacement after just 16 games in one of the strangest seasons imaginable.

Carter has plenty of growing up to do. Ultimately a change of scenery may be needed for her (and the Dream) to reach their full potential. Carter is still maturing as a person and a player. She needs an organization willing to help her instead of blaming her for any bumps along the way. Neither organization nor player can succeed if that mentality persists.


About Corey Rausch

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