UPDATE: Following Wojnarowski’s initial report, The Dallas Morning News‘ Brad Townsend wrote that the Mavericks and Mark Cuban did not know about the pending rape allegations. Rather, the Mavericks were only notified of an “extortion” attempt.
“The word that was used was ‘extortion,'” league sources told The News.
“The word ‘rape’ was never used, only ‘extortion,'” a second source added.
Two pieces of news came out Saturday regarding one of the NBA’s best young players. Neither of them had anything to do with his play on the court.
The first, per the New York Post, was that a woman had accused Kristaps Porzingis of raping her back when he still played for the Knicks in New York.
On the February trade call to finalize the Dallas-New York deal, the Knicks informed the Mavericks of the pending rape allegation against Kristaps Porzingis, league sources tell ESPN. The league office had been previously made aware of the allegations.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 31, 2019
And if the Mavericks knew about the allegation, then team owner Mark Cuban was almost certainly aware.
With any other franchise, that second item likely wouldn’t be big news.
But the Mavericks are already under scrutiny regarding alleged workplace sexual misconduct.
In February 2018, a Sports Illustrated report about the Mavericks’ organization described “a corporate culture rife with misogyny and predatory sexual behavior.”
Numerous team employees, including the team photographer and a ticket sales executive, were accused of sexually harassing female employees.
The initial Sports Illustrated report, as well as a followup investigation, resulted in a complete organizational overhaul that included a new CEO.
Still, the Mavs were reportedly willing to take the gamble of trading for Porzingis, even with the looming rape allegation hanging over him.
The Post reached out to Cuban for comment on the Porzingis matter, and he replied with an email that CC’d NBA officials and Porzingis’ representatives.
“We have been instructed by federal authorities not to comment,” Cuban wrote.
The alleged incident occurred after Porzingis’ final game with the Knicks in February 2018, during which he tore his ACL.
His alleged victim reportedly did not immediately go public with the allegation, and only came forward to police on Thursday, the Post reported, citing a New York City Police Department source.
She “has admitted to cops that she discussed getting $68,000 in hush money from the multimillionaire basketballer,” the Post said.
The NYPD source did tell the Post that the alleged victim is “credible.”
On Sunday, the Post further reported that Porzingis has been accused of punching the woman in the face during the alleged rape.
Porzingis denied the rape allegation, with his lawyer telling the Post that the FBI is looking into “the accuser’s extortionate demands.”
Porzingis has not played in an NBA game since tearing his ACL. However, he’s said that he’s fully healthy and will be ready for next season.
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