DANA POINT, California -- National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts said the union will aggressively support Atlanta Hawks guard Thabo Sefolosha if he chooses to pursue civil litigation against the New York City Police Department after he was found not guilty of charges stemming from an incident outside a nightclub on April 8.
Sefolosha broke his leg in the scuffle with NYPD officers and missed the rest of the Hawks' playoff run. Last week he was found not guilty of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. That not-guilty verdict set the stage for a potential civil lawsuit.
"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 relatively quiet 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."