On Tuesday, the WNBA issued a statement announcing that Los Angeles Sparks guard Riquna Williams would be suspended for 10 games as a result of an alleged domestic violence incident in December, which led to Williams' arrest on April 29 this year. Williams allegedly broke into a house in Palm Beach County, Florida, attacked his ex-girlfriend, Alkeria Davis, and then threatened Antonio Wilson, the man who helped contain her, with a gun. Davis said the couple had separated the previous month after five years of dating and that Williams had never been violent.
In its statement this week, the league said it conducted an independent investigation of the criminal process underway, and found enough to suspend Williams under Article XIV of the Collective Accreditation Act, which covers personal conduct. The league will also require that Williams submit to counseling as part of the suspension, which begins with Thursday's game against the Dallas Wings, unless she appeals.
Unlike the NBA and the MLB, the WNBA does not have an explicit rule regarding domestic violence, and the league's handling of Williams' situation has come under scrutiny in recent months. As indicated by Illustrated SportsMichael McCann, the police had probable cause to believe that Williams had committed two felonies (robbery with assault or assault and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with no intention of killing), which led to questions about why she was not suspended pending the result. Of the investigation. Assault robbery or battery charge carries a maximum life sentence in Florida.
However, the league did not suspend Williams until Tuesday, almost three months after the arrest. However, once he did, he provoked the wrath of the players union, which argues that Williams did not have a fair chance to defend himself, especially since he pleaded not guilty to the charges on May 6. AP Following the announcement of the suspension, the president of the National Association of Women's Basketball Players, Terri Jackson, said the league should not have suspended Williams before the criminal case was closed:
We are disappointed with the actions of the league. There is an ongoing criminal process and, to be fair to the player, the league could and should have waited for its completion before taking any action.
Riquna has not had a fair chance to fully defend herself. We immediately file a complaint and seek the referee's review.
If so, the Williams suspension will be the longest suspension related to domestic violence in the history of the WNBA, surpassing the suspensions of seven games given to Glory Johnson and Brittney Griner in 2015 for their arrests for domestic violence.
The Williams case is not the only incident related to domestic violence the league faces: Seattle Storm forward Natasha Howard was accused by his wife of domestic abuse in a series of tweets weekend. Howard denied the claims on Tuesday and filed for divorce. Both the storm and the WNBA They are reportedly investigating.