Sparks guard Riquna Williams suspended 10 games for domestic violence incident

Riquna Williams. Photo: NBAE/Getty Images.
Riquna Williams. Photo: NBAE/Getty Images.

From the WNBA:

Riquna Williams of the Los Angeles Sparks has been suspended without pay for ten games as a result of a domestic violence incident, the WNBA announced today.  Williams was arrested on April 29, 2019, and charged with two felony counts, one involving the assault of an individual with whom she was in a relationship and the other involving the threatening of another person with a firearm.  Her criminal case is ongoing.

The WNBA conducted its own internal investigation into this matter, including interviews of Williams and several witnesses.  The WNBA also consulted with a panel of experts in the field of domestic violence, upon whom the league relies in connection with such matters.

Based on the investigation, consultation, and a careful weighing of all the facts and circumstances, the WNBA determined that a ten-game suspension was appropriate.  Among other factors, the WNBA took into account the nature and seriousness of the conduct at issue, including the involvement of a firearm.  The WNBA will also require Williams to participate in counseling.

Williams’ suspension will begin with Thursday’s game against the Dallas Wings.

Williams is set to have her next court date August 16 in Palm Beach County, Florida. It was originally scheduled for July 3. Her attorneys successfully filed waivers to allow her to be absent for court dates.

The Sparks released the following statement about Williams:

“The Los Angeles Sparks were informed today that the WNBA has suspended guard Riquna Williams for 10 games beginning with Thursday’s game at Staples Center. The Sparks have cooperated fully with the league’s investigation. As an organization, we abhor violence of any kind and specifically take domestic violence allegations very seriously. We will provide whatever resources we are allowed to help Riquna learn and grow from this unfortunate situation.”

The Sparks re-signed Williams in mid-May. The team was fully aware of her arrest in late April but, put her in the starting lineup and in promos for the Sparks since the onset of the regular season.

The Women’s National Basketball Players Association responded to the suspension with the following statement from the organization’s executive director:

“We are disappointed with the league’s actions. There is an ongoing criminal proceeding and in fairness to the player, the league could have and should have awaited its completion before taking any action. Riquna has not had a fair opportunity to fully defend herself. We are immediately filing a grievance and will seek the arbitrator’s review.”

Full background on the case:

In another case, Seattle Storm forward Natasha Howard is also under investigation by the team and the league in light of allegations of domestic violence aired by her wife this past weekend via Twitter.

A suspense is likely imminent for Minnesota Lynx guard Odyssey Williams who was arrested in June for driving drunk. Sims apologized for the incident and is set to appear in court today.

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