Los Angeles Sparks' Riquna Williams suspended 10 games for domestic violence incident

Early on Tuesday afternoon, the WNBA announced Los Angeles Sparks guard Riquna Williams has been suspended 10 games for a prior domestic violence incident. Williams' suspension is the longest in WNBA history. 

Riquna Williams of the Los Angeles Sparks has been suspended without pay for ten games as a result of a domestic violence incident, the WNBA announced today.  Williams was arrested on April 29, 2019, and charged with two felony counts, one involving the assault of an individual with whom she was in a relationship and the other involving the threatening of another person with a firearm.  Her criminal case is ongoing.

The WNBA conducted its own internal investigation into this matter, including interviews of Williams and several witnesses.  The WNBA also consulted with a panel of experts in the field of domestic violence, upon whom the league relies in connection with such matters.

Following the league's decision, the Sparks released a statement of their own, saying they cooperated with the league's investigation and promised to provide Williams with resources to "learn and grow from this unfortunate situation."

"The Los Angeles Sparks were informed today that the WNBA has suspended guard Riquna Williams for 10 games beginning with Thursday's game at Staples Center. The Sparks have cooperated fully with the league's investigation. As an organization, we abhor violence of any kind and specifically take domestic violence allegations very seriously. We will provide whatever resources we are allowed to help Riquna learn and grow from this unfortunate situation."

In addition, WNBA Players Union executive director Terri Jackson told the Associated Press that the union will file a grievance on Williams' behalf. 

"We are disappointed with the league's actions. There is an ongoing criminal proceeding and in fairness to the player, the league could have and should have awaited its completion before taking any action. Riquna has not had a fair opportunity to fully defend herself. We are immediately filing a grievance and will seek the arbitrator's review."

According to arrest records from the incident, Williams forced her way into her ex-girlfriend's home in Florida and struck her repeatedly before two men at the residence were able to break things up. Before leaving, Williams "grabbed a firearm from her blue Camaro, placed it on the trunk and pointed it at one man, saying 'you'll get all 18' before speeding off."

In addition to her suspension, Williams will also be required by the league to go through counseling. She'll begin her suspension on Thursday when the Sparks take on the Dallas Wings, and will be eligible to return on August 22 when the Sparks host the Indiana Fever.

Williams' suspension comes in the wake of disturbing domestic violence allegations levied against Natasha Howard of the Seattle Storm. The All-Star forward is still playing while the team and league investigate the matter. Unlike many leagues, the WNBA does not have a specific policy regarding domestic violence. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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