A former female employee of the Golden State Warriors basketball club has filed a lawsuit against the team, charging that star guard Monta Ellis repeatedly harassed her by sending unwanted text messages of a sexual nature.
Ellis proposed sexual trysts in his messages and even included graphic photos of his genitalia, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
In the lawsuit, which was filed in Alameda County Superior Court on Tuesday, Erika Ross Smith alleged that Ellis sent her the messages in November 2010 while she worked for the Warriors’ community relations department. She claimed he texted her several times in a single day, late at night or in the early morning hours, by using a secret telephone with a 601-area code.
The Chronicle reported that the messages included such phrases as I want to be with you, and Hey Sexy.” Ellis responded with such remarks as What do you want? and I am sleeping.”
Moreover, Burton Boltuch, Smith's attorney, said her job description was suddenly changed this past January when Ellis’ wife, Juanika Amos Ellis, learned about the texts and complained to team executives. Subsequently, the club fired Ellis.
[Smith] feared Monta, Boltuch told reporters. She knew if she said anything, the Warriors would choose to protect Monta, which is what they've done.
Ellis, who signed a six-year $67-million contract in 2008 after winning the NBA's Most Improved Player Award, is the team’s highest paid player and probably the most well-known Warrior to the general public.
Perhaps the most notorious example of an athlete sending unwanted messages to a woman involved NFL quarterback Brett Favre who repeated forwarded sexually suggestive photos and voicemails to Jenn Sterger, who worked for the New York Jets football club at the time.