The Golden State Warriors have responded to the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against the franchise and star player Monta Ellis by a former team employee.
Warriors CEO Rick Welts sent a statement to Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News. Here are the money graphs.
“When we were made aware of a consensual relationship between Mr. Ellis and the Plaintiff, we did what an organization should do. We told both to stop – promptly, directly and fairly. The Warriors have never taken any action against the Plaintiff for any inappropriate reason, and we deny the allegations she is making.
We live in a litigious society in which lawsuits too frequently are driven by money and not the pursuit of justice. We will vigorously defend the reputation of the Warriors organization in the courts. We don’t plan to make any further comment about the details of the case.”
Interesting that the Warriors do not deny there was something going on, only the circumstances. Erika Ross Smith, the Warriors former director of community relations, denies that it was consensual in her lawsuit. She claims that Ellis made unwanted advances, specifically sending sexual text messages including photographs of his genitals.
Monta Ellis was married at the time this affair took place. That is not a criminal charge, but it certainly doesn’t make Ellis a sympathetic figure in all this.
I’m not going to pretend to know who is telling the truth here, but it is safe to say that this will get uglier for the Warriors organization before it gets better. This could become quite salacious.
The woman accusing Monta Ellis and the Golden State Warriors of sexual harassment filed a lawsuit in Oakland Wednesday — a suit that includes the allegation the Warriors star texted her pictures of his genitals among other harassing measures.
Erika Ross Smith, the Warriors former director of community relations, alleges in the suit Ellis started texting her several times a day starting in November 2010 and when she complained to Warriors management her job title was changed and she was eventually fired.
So far, the Warriors and Ellis have yet to comment on the lawsuit or allegations. These alleged incidents did take place under the current ownership of the Warriors, after the sale of the team last year.
The text messages from Ellis are the center of the lawsuit, as Matt Steinmetz at CSNBayArea.com explains. In addition to the alleged photo of genitalia Ellis tried to propose sexual encounters and texted things such as “I want to be with you,” according to the lawsuit.
“On a micro level, my client has endured unwanted harassment, has suffered and continues to suffer emotional distress and trauma,” Smith’s lawyer said. “On a macro level, this type of conduct, especially in the sports world, must stop.”
Smith’s attorney said she rejected Ellis’ sexual advances.
Ellis, one of the better pure scorers in the game, led the Warriors 24.1 points per game last season. He has three years, $23 million remaining on his contract.
A former employee of the Golden State Warriors is suing the team and star Monta Ellis for sexual harassment, reports Matt Steinmetz at CSNBayArea.com.
An e-mail from the law offices of Burton F. Boltuch said that on Wednesday, Dec. 21, a plaintiff will file the suit in Oakland at the Superior Court of Alameda County. The e-mail said a press conference will be held afterward to discuss the allegations….
According to the e-mail, Boltuch will discuss 14 allegations, including flagrant violations of California’s prohibition against sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation.
It is not yet clear when the incidents in question took place — was this during the previous ownership of Chris Cohan or the new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber. It also is not yet known what the woman’s role with the team was. Warriors officials and Ellis did not speak to media Tuesday.
Remember that Madison Square Garden ended up losing a sexual harassment lawsuit against Isiah Thomas, a case where the plaintiff was awarded $11.6 million (but was settled before appeal). That case not only cost MSG a lot of money but also dragged the Knicks reputation through some very public mud.