NBA Players’ union will “stand with Kristaps” Porzingis in face of alleged rape

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Kristaps Porzingis, the All-Star Dallas Maverick and former big man of the New York Knicks, is under investigation by the New York Police Department for an alleged rape that took place in his Manhattan apartment in 2018 (when he still played for the Knicks).

The police reportedly see the accuser is “believable,” while Porzingis’ attorney vehemently denied the claim, saying the woman had tried to extort money from Porzingis and they had reported the situation to the NBA and FBI.

National Basketball Players’ Association executive director Michelle Roberts released a statement Sunday to Ian Begley of ESPN saying that the players’ union backs Porzingis.

The alleged incident took place on Feb. 7, 2018, the same day Porzingis suffered his torn ACL. The woman, who was in her 20s and lived in the building, reportedly told police Porzingis came to her apartment at 2 a.m., she accepted his invitation to go to his higher-end apartment in the building, and there the 7’3″ professional athlete raped her. She reportedly admitted to police she talked to Porzingis about a $68,000 “hush money” payment. She came forward last week.

Porzingis’ attorney released a statement denying the accusation.

This past February, Porzingis was traded from the Knicks to the Dallas Mavericks (Porzingis has not played this season as he recovers from the ACL injury). In the wake of the rape allegations becoming public, it was reported that the Mavericks were aware of the situation at the time of the trade. Sunday, sources with the Mavericks pushed back hard on that idea, speaking to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News.

“The word that was used was ‘extortion,’ ” one of the sources said.

“The word ‘rape’ was never used, only ‘extortion,’ ” the second source said.

If true, that is a massive difference in meaning. Dallas may have understood there was a potential issue hanging over their new star, but one where he is extorted and one where he is potentially charged with rape are radically different situations and possible outcomes. That said, did Dallas do its due diligence on the issue?

Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban has told media outlets he was instructed by federal authorities not to comment on the situation.