An investigation by OPB came to the conclusion that the Portland Trail Blazers did not seek further information in regard to a 1997 allegation of rape involving Chauncey Billups.
Trigger Warning: This article contains discussions involving with rape and domestic violence. Reader discretion is advised.
The Portland Trail Blazers have been under fire with the recent comeuppance in regard to a 1997 rape allegation against their new head coach, Chauncey Billups. OPB conducted an investigation in regard to the Blazers’ own investigation process to see if the team took the proper steps in investigating the incident before making the decision to hire the former NBA player.
The Blazers’ investigation was simply not a good one, to put it bluntly
The results are damning, as neither Jane Doe nor her attorney were even contacted in the Blazers’ investigation process. Conducting a “thorough investigation” without even contacting the accuser seems like a pretty glaring mistake. The Blazers also failed to contact the current or former district attorney in Middlesex County, where the 1997 incident took place.
These failtures are even more alarming when one considers the background information regarding the relationship between Billups and Portland president of basketball operations Neil Olshey. Olshey, who has had an existing relationship with Billups dating back to his days of playing with the LA Clippers, saw Billups as a top candidate.
What becomes more harmful is the fact that Billups’ allegation isn’t the only portion of the investigation that comes to fruition. Along with Billups, Jason Kidd, who also applied for the position, pled guilty to domestic abuse in 2001.
The only top candidate for the Blazers who did not fall into such a problematic category was Becky Hammon, who has quite a good track record across the NBA and WNBA alike.
Where the Blazers front office went wrong in this case
Hammon was not going to be considered and she knew it. Billups was the frontrunner and it’s hard to wrap your head around why Olshey would not take the necessary steps to investigate this matter thoroughly. Though the OPB report states that Olshey found a former FBI investigator to consider the information presented, nothing came of it in the end.
From the perspective of the Blazers front office, they saw nothing wrong or untruthful and felt that they could proceed with the hiring process. But they did not contact the accuser, which only presents one side of the story. Blazers fans are quite unhappy with these results and the process, and understandably so.
How this will play out for Billups is unclear, especially since he’s been able to ride out for this long without serious repercussions or backlash.