Former Community Relations Director, Erika Smith Is Suing Monta Ellis & The Warriors For Harassment

Erika Ross Smith,the former Director of Community Relations for Golden State Warriors is the mystery employee that filed a lawsuit against  Monta Ellis and the Warriors for alleged sexual harassment.

In the suit, Smith claims that Ellis sent her multiple unwanted explicit text messages – sometimes “several times in a single day, late at night, or in the early morning hours” – when she worked as the team’s director of community relations.

The former Warriors executive was fired in January after Ellis’ wife found out about the text messages and complained to team executives, according to the lawsuit.

Ellis allegedly sent multiple inappropriate text messages, including a picture of his penis, with messages like “Hey Sexy” and “I want to be with you.”

The Warriors are standing behind their decisions with the situation.

“When we were made aware of a consensual relationship between Mr. Ellis and the plaintiff, we did what an organization should do: We told both to stop promptly, directly and fairly,” the team’s president and chief operating officer, Rick Welts, said in a statement read to reporters in Oakland. “The Warriors have never taken any action against the plaintiff for any inappropriate reason, and we deny the allegations she is making.”

Burton Boltuch, Smith’s attorney,said his client was initally afraid to speak out because Ellis is a star on the team and they wouldn’t do anything about the situation.

“On a micro level, my client has endured unwanted harassment, has suffered and continues to suffer emotional distress and trauma,” her attorney, Boltuch, said at a news conference in his Oakland office. “On a macro level, this type of conduct, especially in the sports world, must stop.

Boltuch also showed an alleged photo of Ellis’ lil guy  that was taken in Dec. 2010, but refused to release the photo. Boltuch said that he couldn’t verify whether it was ACTUALLY Ellis’ genitalia or not, but that the basketball star claimed it to be him in the texts he set to Smith.

“It’s a very graphic color picture of an African-American penis dangling there, with Warriors sweatpants lowered,” 

Boltuch said that his client was terminated after she went to human resources to inform the department that a local reporter had asked her whether Ellis was stalking her. He also said that the relationship absolutely wasn’t consensual, as the Warriors allege in their statement.

Hmmm so let’s do a little piecing together, Ellis wife (his new wife at the time, they married in the summer of 2010) discovered the text messages in his phone and complained to Warriors brass… Surely his wife knows (assuming she saw the photos) if that’s her man’s “lower region.” I hope she complained to her husband first. I’m curious about a couple of things. If Ms. Smith wasn’t fired because of the relationship, what was the cause of her dismissal?

If the relationship was consenual on BOTH parts, why was Mrs. Ellis complaining to the execs? That sounds like a marital issue.

I will say that it’s hard for a woman to work in sports especially if you have ANY dealings with players. Every action is judged with a different scale. I’ll be watching this case closely, it could get ugly. But, it says a lot- at least to me- Smith has basically assured she’ll never be hired in the NBA again after working over a decade in various capacities with several teams and still proceeded with the case.