The Kristaps Porzingis Allegations

The N.Y.P.D. is currently investigating Mavericks’ forward Kristaps Porzingis in an alleged assault that took place while he was playing for the Knicks. An unnamed woman claims that Porzingis raped and beat her following a game last February. Porzingis currently disputes these claims saying through his lawyer, “[the allegations are] patently false.”

Kristaps Porzingis, Power Forward, played for the New York Knicks until he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks this February. Porzingis, Latvian born, played in the EuroLeague for Sevilla for four years. At age 18 he became the youngest player to win the Rising Stars award. In 2015 he declared for the N.B.A. draft and, to boos from the crowd, was drafted to the New York Knicks. Porzingis wanted to change their minds and, for a time, he did. Porzingis became the only hope the team had had in years. The team still had a trademark 28 and 44 record that season, but nonetheless there was hope.

However, in the 2018-19 season, the relationship Porzingis had with the Knicks was stained. Reports claimed that there was constant conflict between Porzingis and the team’s front office.  The front office cited those conflicts as the primary reason for trading him. Knicks fans were heartbroken and stunned, it seemed like their biggest hope in years had been traded away for salary cap space. The Dallas Mavericks sidelined Porzingis for the rest of the season as a result of his ACL injury. While it makes sense for him to stay with the Mavericks in the 2019/20 season, it’s unknown what his current plans are.

The woman, who claims to have lived in the same apartment building as Porzingis, went to his room to request an autograph. She alleges that an aggressive encounter ensued, wherein Porzingis held her down and repeatedly hit her, resulting in injuries to her nose that needed surgery. It should be noted that the night this incident reportedly occurred was February 6th, the same night of Porzingis’ first ACL injury.

Again, Porzingis’ lawyer and those of the Mavericks and the Knicks both vehemently deny the charges put against him. However, ESPN has obtained documents which show what appears to be a contractual agreement between the two. The document, which seems to be handwritten, goes as follows: “This agreement effective February 7, 2018, acknowledges the fact that an unexpected escalated sexual intercourse due to an inevitable physical attraction on the part of [Porzingis] occurred subsequently.” These documents show an understanding on the part of Porzingis and his legal team that the alleged assault did, in fact, take place. The agreement goes on to say that the accuser will receive “compensation payable towards [the accuser’s] sibling’s college tuition in the amount of $68,000.” She decided to go to the police when she failed to receive payment even after contacting the Knicks’ legal office.

If a player in the NBA is found to have committed some form of violent crime and/or sexual assault, the league’s policy is to suspend them for ten games. Although the league, the Knicks, and the Mavericks are all aware of these allegations, none have done adhered to said policy. Porzingis is currently injured and is thus not playing in games, but he is still a player on the payroll of the Dallas Mavericks.

The fact that the league and the two teams who have had Porzingis’ under contract have not placed him on unpaid leave or suspension of any kind, pending the results of the N.Y.P.D.’s investigation, is disconcerting at best and morally repugnant at worst.

Years ago, Lakers forward Kobe Bryant was accused of rape, in a case somewhat similar to this. An investigation was launched and made it to trial, but the trial ended after Bryant’s accuser, the principal witness for the prosecution, refused to testify in court. Bryant later settled out of court with the accuser, apologizing for his ‘adulterous’ actions but not owning up to the allegations of rape. A year after the end of the trial, Bryant signed a seven-year $136 million contract with the Lakers. He quickly regained all his sponsorships with Nike, Spalding, and Coca-Cola. This ordeal with Bryant is a stain on his career that is often unmentioned by the media, the league, and Bryant himself. It is not considered when weighing Bryant’s legacy as an athlete or a man.

Do the N.B.A., the New York Knicks, and the Dallas Mavericks wish for Kristaps Porzingis’ rape allegations to be dealt with the same way as Kobe Bryant’s? A league which prides itself on being leaps and bounds above its counterparts like the NFL in terms of social consciousness? Even if these allegations are proven false, the way the NBA conducted itself concerning these allegations remains. Which, as of now, is appalling.

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