The daughters of former NBA All-Star Jayson Williams have denounced St. John's University for inducting their father into the school's Athletics Hall of Fame, lashing out at the university in separate letters over the decision being made in spite of flaws in their father's personal character. The letters written by Tryumph and Whizdom Williams were sent to the Associated Press and will be sent to the University itself.
The Williams sisters, now both teenagers, accused their father of being a "deadbeat", an alcoholic, and failing to provide adequate financial support while also being emotionally and verbally abusive. The daughters claimed that their father never made amends with them, even as Williams apologized and served time in prison for accidentally shooting and killing a chauffeur at his New Jersey mansion in 2002.
Tryumph directly accused St. John's of misusing money to honor her father, who starred at St. John's before starring in the NBA throughout the 1990s.
"Why are you being honored and inducted into the hall of fame when I've always had to earn my survival, let alone my success, in spite of you? St. John's University — you should be ashamed of yourself," she wrote.
Despite the objections of his daughters, St. John's said in a statement that they would go ahead with inducting Williams into their Hall of Fame in spite of familial issues. Williams will be part of a seven-member Hall of Fame class that will be inducted during the school's Homecoming weekend.
"Jayson Williams's life journey is one that includes childhood trauma, time spent in a homeless shelter, addiction, incarceration, and recovery; issues that impact countless American families. The family dynamic between Jayson and his children is not a matter that St. John's University will discuss," Brian Browne, a spokesperson for St. John's, wrote in an email statement to the AP.
"Part of the recovery and redemption process is restoring trust, accepting help, and finding comfort and support in the journey and that, coupled with his athletic accomplishments, is what St. John's University recognizes with Jayson Williams during this Homecoming weekend."
Since being released from prison, much of the past decade for Williams has been devoted to his making amends as a person, specifically for his past issues with alcohol abuse. For their part, St. John's has recognized Williams for his establishment of the addiction rehabilitation program at the Rebound Institute in Florida.