Storm All-Star forward Natasha Howard on Tuesday denied domestic-abuse allegations made public Saturday by her wife, Jacqueline Howard.
Natasha Howard denied the allegations in a statement released through her attorney, and added she has filed for divorce.
Through attorney Lorraine Rimson, Natasha Howard said: “The allegations that have been made against me are very serious. I deny them. I do not take them lightly, but I do not believe that they should be evaluated and decided through social media or through the media generally. That is why I have waited to comment.”
Natasha Howard in the statement said she had filed for divorce Monday in King County Superior Court. Rimson said Natasha Howard had also requested a restraining order against Jacqueline Howard.
“These are really serious allegations, and they should be dealt with in proper channels,” said Rimson, who is based in Port Townsend. “Social media and the media is not the place. We’re dealing with the allegations through the court system. We’re not going to be dealing with any sort of campaign on Natasha’s behalf through the media.”
On Saturday, Jacqueline posted three videos on Twitter in which she yelled at Natasha about being threatened by the Storm player. In several posts, Jacqueline said she suffered mental and physical abuse by her spouse.
Additionally, Jacqueline posted screen shots of alleged text conversations she had with Natasha; Natasha’s agent, Eric Wiesel; and Storm general manager Alisha Valavanis. In those conversations, Jacqueline said she expressed a desire to end the relationship and advised Natasha to seek counseling.
In one of those text conversations, Jacqueline accused Natasha of stabbing her in the chest and leg.
“The organization is aware of the recent allegations against Natasha. We are in communication with the league and looking into them,” the Storm said in a statement Saturday from co-owner Lisa Brummel and Valavanis.
The WNBA has launched an investigation, and a spokesman said the league is “in the process of gathering additional information.”
Jacqueline has declined to comment via direct message on Twitter.
“Going forward, I will continue to deal with the issues related to my divorce through the court process only,” Natasha Howard said in the statement. “I am confident that through the court process the real story will come out. I will have no further comment, as I want to give my teammates, coaches, and the Seattle Storm the respect they deserve by keeping my focus on basketball.”
The 6-foot-2 forward has emerged as the best player on an injury-riddled Storm team that is sixth in the 12-team league with a 10-8 record. The six-year veteran was selected to start in her first All-Star Game and is averaging career bests in points (17.4), rebounds (8.2), steals (2.0), assists (1.9) and minutes (31.1).
This is the second reported domestic incident in the WNBA this season.
On Tuesday, the league suspended Los Angeles Sparks guard Riquna Williams for 10 games — nearly one-third of the season — stemming from an April 29 arrest after authorities say she attacked her former girlfriend at a Florida home.
Williams was charged with two felony counts, one involving the assault of an individual with whom she was in a relationship and the other involving a threat to another person with a firearm. Her criminal case is ongoing.
Williams’ suspension, which surpassed the seven games given to WNBA players Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson in 2015 for their domestic-violence case, will begin with Thursday’s game against the Dallas Wings.