The NBA Players Association has come out in support of Kristaps Porzingis, with the organization saying on Sunday that it had already been aware of the rape allegations against the Dallas Mavericks big man.
As Marc Berman of the New York Post reported on Twitter, the association released a statement saying it had evaluated the claims against Porzingis and “based [on] what is currently before us,” they were standing with him.
As the New York Post had reported over the weekend, the NYPD launched an investigation into the former New York Knicks player after a former neighbor claimed that he had raped her. The woman said that Porzingis invited her into his apartment in the early morning hours of February 7, 2018, just hours after Porzingis had suffered a major injury.
The woman claimed that he raped her during the visit and later agreed to pay her $68,000, which she planned to use to help her brother attend college. The woman claimed that Porzingis never followed through on the offer.
The woman recounted her allegation to police in Manhattan, who said they found her account to be credible and launched an investigation into Kristaps Porzingis. The investigation is reportedly in its early stages, and it is not clear if police have sought out the NBA star for an interview yet.
The allegation has brought new attention on the blockbuster trade that sent Porzingis from the Knicks to the Dallas Mavericks. Many NBA experts saw the trade as one-sided favoring the Mavericks, leading to questions about whether the Knicks were trying to dump their star player before the investigation was launched.
Players Association with statement supporting Kristaps Porzingis: "We have been aware of these allegations for some time, have evaluated the accuser's claims and, based what is presently before us, stand with Kristaps.'' From Michele Roberts.— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) March 31, 2019
But ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Twitter that the Mavericks had known about the pending rape claim before the trade was finalized and that the NBA was notified as well.
Wojnarowski later reported that the accuser had reached out directly to the New York Knicks to help facilitate the payment she had allegedly been promised. The team was able to provide emails and text messages, including direct interactions between the accuser and Porzingis, Wojnarowski reported on Twitter.
ESPN reporting on woman reaching out to Knicks to mediate a Kristaps Porzingis payment in aftermath of alleged assault. Story includes emails and texts, including interaction between her and Porzingis. https://t.co/JK478K7AWg— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 1, 2019
Kristaps Porzingis has released his own account of the events, saying that the woman was trying to extort him and that he notified both the league offices and federal authorities so they could investigate.
It remains unclear what kind of discipline Kristaps Porzingis could face from the NBA, or even whether he could face criminal charges for the allegation.