Posted By: Sabrina B.Â @gametimegirl
A former Golden State Warriors employee filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against star guard Monta Ellis on Wednesday, alleging Ellis sent her unwanted texts that included a photo of his genitals.
In her lawsuit, which also names the team, Erika Ross Smith alleges Ellis began sending her explicit messages several times a day starting in November 2010 while she worked in the team’s community relations department.
The messages included lines such as, ”I want to be with you,” and ”Hey Sexy,” and proposed sexual encounters, according to the lawsuit.
”On a micro level, my client has endured unwanted harassment, has suffered and continues to suffer emotional distress and trauma,” Smith’s attorney, Burton Boltuch, said at a news conference. ”On a macro level, this type of conduct, especially in the sports world, must stop.”
Boltuch said his client rejected Ellis’ advances. Boltuch also showed a photo of what he said was Ellis’ genitalia that the guard allegedly sent to Smith’s cellphone.
A call to a spokesman for the Warriors was not returned. Ellis’ agent, Jeffrey Fried, said he was en route to Oakland and didn’t immediately have a comment.
According to the lawsuit, the Warriors changed Smith’s job description and eventually fired her after Ellis’ wife learned of the texts and complained to team executives.
”I was treated unfairly. I was let go,” Smith, who has also worked for other NBA teams, said at the news conference.
The lawsuit alleges retaliation, wrongful termination and intentional infliction of emotional distress and seeks unspecified damages.
Ellis was the Warrior’s leading scorer last season, averaging 24.1 points per game. His acrobatic layups and ball handling skills have made him a fan favorite though he is known to be quiet and has few endorsement deals and less notoriety than expected for a player of his caliber.
Ellis signed a $66 million, six-year deal with the Warriors after he averaged 20.2 points during the 2007-08 season. He then sustained a serious ankle injury that summer on his motorized scooter and missed most of the season, earning a 30-game suspension without pay because he wasn’t supposed to be riding such a vehicle.