*Michele Roberts, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, said the union will support Atlanta Hawks guard Thabo Sefolosha if he chooses to file a lawsuit against the NYPD after he was found not guilty of assault and resisting arrest charges stemming from a police fracas outside a trendy New York City nightclub on April 8, espnW reports.
Thabo suffered a fractured right leg in the struggle with police, and missed the rest of the Hawks’ playoff run. Last week, a Manhattan jury deliberated for about an hour and found Sefolosha not guilty of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
“They were on the side of truth and justice today. … I’m just happy all this is over now and I can put this behind me, knowing my name has been cleared,” the 31-year-old Sefolosha told reporters.
When asked by reporters Friday whether he would be suing the city now, Sefolosha said: “I haven’t made a decision on that.”
Well, Thabo has had some time to think about, as now that not-guilty verdict has set the stage for a potential civil lawsuit, and Michele Roberts says the league will back him up should he move forward with it.
“He had a criminal case and we had to respect that,” Roberts said during a question-and-answer session at the espnW: Women + Sports Summit in Dana Point, California. “He now has a civil litigation if he wants to pursue it. I take my lead from him … but all he has to do is turn me on and I’m gone. I can’t even tell you how horrific the experience he had was. It was just dreadful.”
Roberts said the union remained on the sidelines while Sefolosha dealt with criminal charges, but believes he “wants to do more” now that he’s been exonerated.
“I was outraged when [the incident] happened. We were all outraged when that happened,” Roberts said. “We needed to obviously defer to Thabo. We’ve always taken a backseat and respected what he wants to do and we’ll do that going forward. The good news is he does want to do more. And we will do as much as he will allow us to do for him.”