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USATSI

After the two sides finalized an agreement on a reported five-year deal over the weekend, Chauncey Billups was formally introduced as the Portland Trail Blazers' new head coach on Tuesday. He will take over for Terry Stotts, who was let go following the Blazers' fourth first-round exit in five seasons. 

The appointment, which has been in the works for some time, has faced considerable backlash from fans in Portland and around the league. Back in 1997, when he was playing for the Boston Celtics, Billups was accused of rape, and the details surrounding the case resurfaced in recent weeks. While Billups was never charged or convicted of a crime -- he eventually settled a civil suit with the woman -- many were unhappy that someone with credible sexual assault allegations would be in line for a head coaching position. 

During his introductory press conference on Tuesday, both Billups and Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey were asked about the events in 1997. Olshey told reporters that the team took the allegations "very seriously" and "with the gravity they deserved." He added that they put together their own investigation which, "corroborated what Chauncey told us, that nothing non-consensual occurred." Pressed for more details, Olshey declined to comment

Billups addressed the incident by talking about how it has impacted his life. His full comments:

"Before I even talk about my role with the team and me being the head coach, I first want to talk about ... the incident that happened in 1997. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about how every decision we make could have a profound impact on a person's life. I learned at a very young age as a player, but not only [as] a player but [as] a young man, a young adult, that every decision has consequences. And that's led to some really, really healthy but tough conversations that I've had to have with my wife, who was my girlfriend at the time in 1997, and my daughters about what actually happened and what they may have to read about me in the news and the media."

"But this experience has shaped my life in so many different ways. My decision-making, obviously. Who I allow to be in my life, the friendships and relationships I have and how I go about them. It's impacted every decision that I make and it's shaped me in some unbelievable ways. I know how important it is to have the right support system around you, particularly in tough, difficult times."

Later, when Billups was asked a follow-up about how the events in 1997 helped shape his life, the Blazers' PR staff stepped in and shut the question down. "We've addressed this," the moderator said. "It's been asked and answered, so happy to move on to the next question."

The Blazers' decision to prevent a journalist from asking a legitimate question about a serious subject generated a lot of criticism and only heightened the controversy surrounding Billups' hiring.