Report: Trail Blazers still plan to hire Chauncey Billups
In 1997, a woman accused Billups – then a Celtics rookie – of rape. He denied it and was never charged criminally. He settled a civil suit years later.
But Damian Lillard – who publicly endorsed Billups – defended his role in the process:
Really? I was asked what coaches I like of the names I “heard” and I named them. Sorry I wasn’t aware of their history I didn’t read the news when I was 7/8yrs old. I don’t support Those things … but if this the route y’all wana come at me… say less https://t.co/N1GPkX3Ohd— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) June 26, 2021
And Portland is apparently set to continue with hiring Billups.Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
The Blazers met with Chauncey Billups in Seattle on Wednesday, and they were convinced he was their choice after that meeting. But I’m told they continued their own internal investigation into those 97 charges throughout the day Thursday, throughout the day Friday before they offered him that job on Friday night.
And listen, Portland knows that Chauncey Billups had been vetted by a number of other organizations prior to this process, including the Clippers, who hired him as assistant coach last year, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who previously offered Chauncey Billups an elevated position of president of basketball operations. They didn’t rely on those probes.
And I’m told in their conversations with Chauncey Billups, he recounted his version of those events a number of times – including with Neil Olshey, their president of basketball operations, and their owner, Jody Allen – and that those aligned with what their investigation had found.
So, they’re continuing now to finish up a contract, finish up terms on a deal. And you can expect Billups to be introduced as the Blazers’ new coach as soon as early next week.
It’s absolutely fair to discuss the rape allegation. It’s fair to question whether the Trail Blazers, who appeared for weeks to be set on Billups, properly investigated. It is not fair to assume Billups is guilty.
Which leaves a difficult situation.
It is such a shame that rape hasn’t been taken seriously enough. That’s obviously the wrong way to treat victims. It also creates other complications as sexual misconduct gets the long-overdue attention it deserves. Because there’s little faith the incident was adjudicated properly at the time, Billups not being charged isn’t treated as an exoneration today.
Hopefully, the Trail Blazers investigated thoroughly and somehow gained enough information to conclude Billups was fit to be hired. But that seems difficult so many years later.
There just aren’t easy answers.