Sources: Warriors Face Multiple Sexual Harassment Allegations
by Irv Soonachan / @SidelineOB
A little over a week after a former Golden State Warriors official sued the team for sexual harassment and wrongful termination, SLAMonline has learned the Warriors have faced other allegations of sexual harassment since majority owner Joe Lacob completed his purchase of the team in November, 2010.
One of the accusers has since left the Warriors and is now employed by a separate NBA franchise. Sources have also informed SLAMonline that at least two other former Warriors employees accusing the team of sexual harassment during Lacob’s ownership have settled their cases.
Sources say that the departure of one Warriors employee was related to suggestive communications involving a member of the Golden State’s executive staff.
In the complaint filed last week, former Director of Community Relations Erika Smith alleged that leading scorer Monta Ellis sent her 61 unwanted text messages over a 30-day period ending Dec. 16, 2010. The messages, some of which were revealed by Smith at a press conference last week, included many of a sexual nature. Smith claims she was afraid of confronting the team’s best player and hoped to defuse the situation by offering neutral responses such as, “I’m sleeping,” and “What do you want.” Her complaint also alleges that she was fired after informing team officials that a local newspaper reporter had contacted her asking if Ellis was “stalking” her.
The Warriors responded with a statement that Smith’s relationship with Ellis was consensual and that her allegations are false.
Smith was disciplined by the Warriors after Ellis complained about her job performance on Dec. 16, 2010. On Dec. 17, 2010, Ellis sent Smith a text message that allegedly included a photo of his genitals. Sources close to the team say a severance package was discussed with Smith as early as February 2011, but that she rejected the team’s offers.
The allegations against the Warriors follow similar charges against employees at the League’s headquarters. A suit filed Dec. 13 by former NBA Security Director Warren J. Glover claims he repeatedly warned NBA officials about sexual harassment within League offices in New York, and that he was fired for his position on the matter. Glover had previously provided sworn testimony in the sexual harassment case of his former administrative assistant, Annette Smith. Smith settled her suit against the NBA out of court in 2009.
When presented with the complete information contained in this article, the Warriors issued the following response: “We stand by our previous statement. The Golden State Warriors take seriously any allegations of harassment. We will vigorously defend the reputation of the Warriors organization.”
The full text of the Warriors’ previous statement from Dec. 21 is available here.