During his introductory Blazers press conference, Portland shut down a question about recent allegations of a Chauncey Billups 1997 sexual assault.
Questions raised about sexual assault allegations against Chauncey Billups won’t be answered by his new employer.
On Tuesday the Portland Trail Blazers introduced Billups as the team’s next head coach but avoided a key follow-up question about sexual assault allegations made against him about as ungracefully as you’d expect.
Billups answered an initial question regarding the allegations:
“I learned at a very young age as a player — not only a player but a young man, a young adult — that every decision has consequences,” Billups said. “And that’s led to some really, really healthy, but tough conversations that I’ve had to have with my wife, who was my girlfriend at the time in 1997, and my daughters about what actually happened and about what they may have to read about me in the news and in the media.”
After taking the official position as an entire franchise that it ‘believes Chauncey’, the Blazers made it clear that it had reached the limits of its comfort level for talking about the 1997 sexual assault allegations.
Blazers press conference: Chauncey Billups 1997 sexual assault question gets shut down
In what was a stunning, tone-deaf, and outright irresponsible move, the Trail Blazers PR staff basically shut down a follow-up question asked by The Athletic’s Jason Quick, saying things had already been previously answered by Billups and that the team is happy to talk about other topics.
You’ve got to be joking.
This was not a complicated question asked by Quick. If anything, this would have allowed Billups to directly address something that is both extremely serious and also not going away anytime soon.
Instead, the Trail Blazers cowered.
In trying to protect Billups, Portland has made him and the entire organization look worse in the process. General manager Neil Olshey even appears to give the PR team a look while sipping his water, almost as if to tell them to step in and fix things.
Extreme backlash has painted every corner of Portland’s hiring process of Billups. Tuesday’s press conference didn’t help the team at all.