The Portland Trail Blazers officially announced Chauncey Billups as their next head coach during an introductory press conference on Tuesday.
Billups replaces longtime head coach Terry Stotts for a Blazers organization that is in the midst of some major drama following another first-round exit in the NBA Playoffs.
The backstory here stems from a 1997 rape allegation against Billups when he was a rookie for the Boston Celtics. While the NBA champion was never charged in the case, he did settle out of court with the unnamed woman.
This has not been lost on people around the NBA or Portland Trail Blazers fans, especially given the fact that Becky Hammon was a finalist for the job with Billups.
Jason Quick from The Athletic brought up the topic during Tuesday’s press conference, asking Billups how the allegation changed him. Much to the shock of those on hand for the presser, the Portland Trail Blazers public relations team shot down said question. Give it a watch.
Indeed, that is absolutely embarrassing and a bad look for a Blazers’ organization that continues to be under a microscope around the NBA world.
It was a perfectly fine question to pose in today’s societal landscape. A man who was accused of rape and settled out of court being hired by an organization within the confines of a league that fancies itself as inclusive. What’s wrong with asking Billups questions surrounding this allegation? Absolutely nothing.
In fact, the new Portland Trail Blazers head coach was apparently willing to answer before the question was shot down.
NBA world blasts Portland Trail Blazers for Chauncey Billups intro press conference
“I did not expect them to hire someone like that,” sexual assault survivor and Blazers fan Ashlee Yuille said recently, via a local NBC News affiliate in Portland. “I’m not happy, I think it’s a slap in the face to women. I think it’s a slap in the face to survivors.”
Those on social media focused more on the Blazers’ PR staff shooting down a perfectly legitimate question.