Two days after domestic-abuse allegations were made public against Storm All-Star forward Natasha Howard by her wife, the team and the WNBA declined further comment as the league continued its investigation.
Jacqueline Howard on Saturday morning posted videos and screen shots of text conversations with Natasha Howard and some Storm staff members, accusing Natasha of domestic abuse.
The team and league issued statements Saturday, saying they were aware of the allegations and were gathering information. Jacqueline Howard tweeted Sunday afternoon that the league had yet to respond to her.
Sunday, Natasha Howard played 24 minutes and had 14 points in Seattle’s 78-69 victory over the New York Liberty at Alaska Airlines Arena. Natasha Howard declined comment through the team Saturday and was not made available to the media after the game Sunday.
The Storm travels to Minneapolis for a game Wednesday against the Minnesota Lynx, then returns home to face the Las Vegas Aces on Friday night at Alaska Airlines Arena.
This is the second alleged domestic-violence incident this season involving a WNBA player. In late April, guard Riquna Williams of the Los Angeles Sparks was arrested after an incident in Florida last December when she allegedly assaulted her ex-partner.
Williams, who faces two felony charges of burglary and aggravated assault, has not been suspended. The Sparks re-signed Williams in May, and she has played 15 minutes or more in all but three of their games this season. She led the Sparks with 23 points in a victory over Atlanta on Sunday.
Another incident in May 2015 involved the Phoenix Mercury’s Brittney Griner and her then-partner, Glory Johnson of the Tulsa Shock (now the Dallas Wings). Both were suspended a record seven games after a domestic-violence incident in Arizona. Griner pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, and Johnson accepted a plea deal.
“The WNBA takes all acts of violence extremely seriously,” then-league president Laurel J. Richie said in 2015. “It is our strong belief that violence has absolutely no place in society, in sports or in this league. … We recognize that our league has an obligation and an opportunity to set an example for people around the world, and we will continue doing everything we can to ensure that situations such as this do not happen again.”
The language regarding personal conduct in the WNBA’s collective-bargaining agreement is vague. It states that “players shall at all times conform their conduct to standards of good citizenship, good moral character, and good sportsmanship and shall not do anything detrimental or prejudicial to the best interests of the WNBA, their Teams, or the sport of basketball.”