Dwight Howard was still nursing a lingering injury, and perhaps his ego, after a weekend that saw some pretty salacious allegations leveled against him. The All-Star NBA center missed the last handful of games for the Washington Wizards with a gluteal injury, but it could be the charges of harassment by trans woman Masin Elijè that keep Howard off the court for a much more extended period of time.
Elijè took to Twitter on Saturday night to claim that her “ex-boyfriend” Howard and his pastor “sexually harassed, threatened and manipulated” her. The allegations rocked social media, likely forcing Howard to reconsider when he would play for the Wizards again, knowing he may be subjected to unjustified ridicule for what seemed to be a violation of his privacy.
Howard missed the Wizards’ shootaround hours before the team’s game Monday night, according to a report from CBS Sports. While it wasn’t a guarantee of anything, skipping a shootaround session is typically a sign that a player intends to sit out a game. If he does, it would be his third consecutive game missed after leaving a game early because of the injury Nov. 18. That would mean Howard would be missing his 10th game of the season — out of the 20 games the Wizards will have played as of Monday night — after having sat out the first seven games of the season because of the same injury.
This is Howard’s first season with the Wizards after a 14-year career of excellence on the hard court. Conventional wisdom was that his addition to a playoff team that needed to shore up its defense was a match made in basketball heaven, but the season has thus far been a disappointment for a group with multiple all-star players on its roster, leaving the squad with a losing record.
Thus far, Howard has remained silent about the allegations as well as his injury.
While a person’s sexual orientation isn’t remotely newsworthy, that context was important to mention because Elijè also made a similar accusation on Twitter last year against rapper Playboi Carti. As Bossip reminded readers, those claims were “allegedly discredited.”
Jason Collins, a former longtime NBA player who made news for announcing he was gay, tweeted that many of the reactions across social media mocking the situation could “lead to deadly consequences” with users outing themselves as transphobic and homophobic.