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Sky player defends Courtney Williams against ‘profiling’ after altercation

Courtney Williams received a fine for leaving the bench during an on-court altercation in the Chicago Sky's Aug. 6 contest. (Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)

Broadcasters made “unacceptable” comments about Courtney Williams during Sunday’s Chicago Sky game, center Elizabeth Williams said Tuesday.

During Chicago’s 104-96 win over the Dallas Wings, Sky guard Dana Evans and Wings guard Odyssey Sims got into a verbal altercation. Courtney Williams left the bench but was stopped by an assistant coach before becoming involved.

Yet the broadcast singled out Williams during the altercation, both with a tight camera shot and in the discussion from the commentators. After seeing clips of the broadcast, Elizabeth Williams called out the commentators for “profiling” her teammate. Williams was suspended for two games by the WNBA in 2021 for her involvement in a fight outside of an Atlanta club.

“I wanted to verbalize that there should never be a situation where [Courtney’s] character is misinterpreted or anything involving the past is brought up in a situation that she had nothing to do with,” she said.

The commentators discussed Williams but did not mention her Sky teammate Ruthy Hebard, who left the bench and then became involved in the altercation between Evans and Sims, until three minutes later. Hebard was ejected from the game and received a one-game suspension from the WNBA, while Williams received a fine for leaving the bench.

“She’s a rider,” commentator Raegan Pebley said on the broadcast. “She’s going to have her teammates’ and her coaches’ back.”

Elizabeth Williams took the time Tuesday to defend her teammate.

“I don’t think in a situation like that, with Courtney or anyone else, we should deal with that type of profiling,” she said. “I think I am confident in saying, whether this is racial or based on her reputation, that Courtney should never be put in that position where cameras are zooming in on her when she has nothing to do with any of that.”

Also on the broadcast, Courtney Williams could be seen expressing her frustration with teammate Taylor Soule.

“There, you can see them pushing [Courtney Williams] away [from the altercation],” commentator Ron Thulin said.

But Courtney Williams offered up a different perspective on the situation, noting that Soule had “grabbed me.”

“I don’t know if people didn’t see the other angle or what happened before that, but that was because Taylor grabbed me,” she said. “I was going off on Taylor like, ‘Why are you grabbing me? I’m not doing anything.’”

Williams said Tuesday that it has been difficult to “rebrand and reinvent” herself. Being depicted as she was Sunday was “draining,” particularly given that the broadcast focused primarily on her.

“It’s just draining, not only being myself, but I’m the one that has to get on Twitter and see everybody calling me a hoodlum and saying I should have gotten ejected, too,” she said. “Why am I a scapegoat? Why is that not being said about anyone else that got off the bench?”

Sky interim coach and general manager Emre Vatansever told the Sun Times that the team has sent a letter to the WNBA to contest Williams’ fine.

“There’s nothing going on with Courtney other than her stepping on the floor and the whole camera for a couple of minutes is just focusing on her, and everybody is talking about Courtney,” Vatansever said. “Why? I’m questioning, why?”