Renee Montgomery, co-owner of the WNBA‘s Atlanta Dream said new video footage shows a brawl involving two Dream players outside an Atlanta-area club in Atlanta in May was worse than was the team was aware of.
“This is a tough situation for everyone involved. No one feels good or happy about what transpired,” said Montgomery, who was asked about the situation Wednesday night at halftime of WNBA playoffs broadcast on ESPN.
On Sunday, video surfaced on social media showing Dream teammates Courtney Williams and Crystal Bradford, among others, throwing punches near a food truck.
With the WNBA season underway. Montgomery said Williams and Bradford weren’t disciplined at the time because the Dream hadn’t seen the version of the video that surfaced Sunday.
“We saw a clip in May that was 10 to 15 seconds long, with no context,” Montgomery said. “And coach [Mike] Petersen, he talked to the players involved, and they told us that, they assured us that it was in self-defense. So we wanted to believe our players. And so, we chose to believe our players, and ultimately didn’t have any disciplinary actions.
“But the thing is, we only understood the magnitude of the situation when we saw that the fuller clip was posted [over the weekend]. And again, this doesn’t feel good for anyone, no one wants to feel this way,” she continued. “But we always want to lean in to believe in our players and believe in women, to even take it a step further.”
Montgomery, a former WNBA player, said the league is now involved.
“We’re dealing with a process that’s going to involve the league and the WNBPA,” she said. “So we have to respect that.”
Montgomery, who became co-owner in February, spoke about the situation after Williams’ and Bradford’s agent, Marcus Crenshaw, said the Dream told him neither player would be re-signed for next season.
Crenshaw, during an Instagram Live interview with Girls Talk Sports TV, said Williams and Bradford are restricted free agents.
“The team knew about the situation months ago,” he said. “Right now, the team is trying to act like they have the morals, and [they’re] making [the players] some sort of scapegoats by saying they got put off the Dream because of the altercation.”
Williams shared an apology on Twitter after the video surfaced this weekend.
“I would never want to represent myself or the organization in a negative way,” she tweeted Monday. “I’m learning everyday so I ask for grace as I’m growing. Again I apologize to all attached, and I will be better moving forward.”
Before that, Williams reportedly deleted a 39-minute YouTube video of her discussing the situation with her girlfriend, Glamazontay, a popular YouTube personality.
The Dream, in a statement released Monday, said, “The behavior in the video is unacceptable and does not align with our values as an organization. We are taking this matter very seriously and working with the league to gather more information and determine next steps.”
The WNBA said in a separate statement that the league “just became aware of the video and are in the process of gathering more information.”
Montgomery said the Dream “want to build a foundation of accountability, we want to build a foundation of integrity,” as well as “continue to believe our players.”
Williams is coming off a career season, having led Atlanta in scoring (16.5 points per game), rebounds (6.8) and assists (4.0.). Bradford’s season was cut short in August due to a foot injury. She averaged 8.8 points and 3.8 rebounds before being sidelined.