Sky players respond to Courtney Williams being fined after Sunday’s ‘altercation’

“I wanted to verbalize that there should never be a situation where her character is misinterpreted or anything involving the past is brought up in a situation that she had nothing to do with,” Elizabeth Williams said.

SHARE Sky players respond to Courtney Williams being fined after Sunday’s ‘altercation’
The Sky’s Courtney Williams was fined for leaving the bench during Sunday’s “altercation” with the Dallas Wings.

The Sky’s Courtney Williams was fined for leaving the bench during Sunday’s “altercation” with the Dallas Wings.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Center Elizabeth Williams started the Sky’s pregame news conference with another message Tuesday — and this time, it wasn’t to make a renewed plea for improved travel conditions.

Instead, Williams addressed the aftermath of a verbal altercation Sunday between Sky guard Dana Evans and Wings guard Odyssey Sims. Sky forward Ruthy Hebard was immediately ejected and later fined and suspended for one game for leaving the bench and approaching Evans and Sims. It appeared from the League Pass broadcast that she might have made contact with Sims before being pulled back by a Sky teammate.

Guard Courtney Williams also was later fined for leaving the bench. Upon seeing clips of the broadcast, Elizabeth Williams found the commentators’ discussion about her teammate “unacceptable.”

“I wanted to verbalize that there should never be a situation where [Courtney’s] character is misinterpreted or anything involving the past is brought up in a situation that she had nothing to do with,” she said.

On the broadcast, Courtney Williams — who was suspended two games by the WNBA in 2021 for her involvement in an altercation outside an Atlanta-area club and for related health and safety protocol violations — can be seen slowly getting up from the bench and walking in Evans and Sims’ direction before being stopped by assistant coach Ann Wauters. After a tight shot on Evans and Sims, the broadcast cuts to a tight shot of Courtney Williams.

“She’s a rider,” broadcaster Raegan Pebley says. “She’s going to have her teammates’ and her coaches’ back.”

There was no mention of Hebard, the only member of the Sky who left the bench and became involved in the exchange. About three minutes pass before the commentators mention Hebard.

“I don’t think in a situation like that, with Courtney or anyone else, we should deal with that type of profiling,” Elizabeth Williams said. “I think I am confident in saying, whether this is racial or based on her reputation, that Courtney should never be put in that position where cameras are zooming in on her when she has nothing to do with any of that.”

As the broadcast continues, Courtney Williams can be seen expressing frustration with teammate Taylor Soule.

“There, you can see them pushing [Courtney Williams] away [from the altercation],” broadcaster Ron Thulin says.

Courtney Williams learned about the fine from Sky coaches Tuesday morning. Her mother and girlfriend told her what was said on the broadcast.

“The clip that floated around was the clip where you saw me kind of grabbing away from Taylor,” she said. “I don’t know if people didn’t see the other angle or what happened before that, but that was because Taylor grabbed me. I was going off on Taylor like, ‘Why are you grabbing me? I’m not doing anything.’ ”

She said Tuesday it has been difficult to try to “rebrand and reinvent” herself and be depicted as she was Sunday.

“It’s just draining, not only being myself, but I’m the one that has to get on Twitter and see everybody calling me a hoodlum and saying I should have gotten ejected, too,” she said. “Why am I a scapegoat? Why is that not being said about anyone else that got off the bench?”

Interim Sky coach/general manager Emre Vatansever said the team has already sent a letter contesting Williams’ fine, which he said was based on her walking too far onto the court and staying there too long.

“There’s nothing going on with Courtney other than her stepping on the floor and the whole camera for a couple of minutes is just focusing on her, and everybody is talking about Courtney,” Vatansever said. “Why? I’m questioning, why?”

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