Royce White. (Nick Laham/NBAE/Getty Images)
One day after TMZ reported that police are investigating Royce White for "allegedly beating up" former girlfriend Tania Mehra, the Philadelphia 76ers forward issued a statement through his lawyer categorically denying the claims.
TMZ reported Wednesday that Mehra, a 26-year-old model who has appeared in Maxim magazine, filed a police report last Friday stemming from an incident at the former Houston Rockets draft pick's Texas home in June:
According to law enforcement, records show someone called 911 on June 22, 2013 to report a laceration above Tania's right eye. Cops say at the time, Tania claimed she suffered the injury from an "accidental fall."
But Tania changed her tune last week ... and filed an incident report in which she claims she LIED on the night of the incident -- and says in reality, Royce is to blame for her injury.
Cops tell TMZ, "The victim said she had lied earlier because the suspect played for the NBA and did not want the incident to damage his career."
Law enforcement also tells us, "The victim stated that White had assaulted her after she became angered by his advances toward her friend."
White's attorneys from Peter R. Ginsberg Law LLC responded Thursday with this statement:
“Royce has seen today’s media reports that law enforcement in Texas is investigating claims of domestic violence by a terminated and disgruntled former employee of his charitable organization. Royce vehemently denies the allegations and is looking forward to a speedy and just resolution of these unfortunate and unfair claims. It is all too easy to make allegations, especially when directed at a person who is in the public eye. Royce hopes that the media will be equally attentive when these allegations ultimately are rejected.”
("A terminated and disgruntled former employee of his charitable organization.")
While police told TMZ that the report is under investigation, no charges have been filed against White, who offered this on his Twitter account on Thursday:
Everybody has something say about something... facts or no facts, Which is illogical YET common practice. Hmmm, weird. #BeWell
— Royce White (@Highway_30) September 5, 2013
White, sadly, isn't the only NBA player connected to claims of domestic violence this offseason. He joins Oklahoma City Thunder guard DeAndre Liggins, who "certainly denies ever laying a hand on a female," Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger, who pleaded not guilty to domestic assault, and Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson, whose initial hearing on charges of "physical harassment and criminal mischief" has been delayed.
The Rockets selected White with the 16th pick in the first round of the 2012 draft despite concerns over the Iowa State standout's well-documented anxiety disorder. White's anxiety issues manifested quickly, as he missed the start of Rockets training camp with "personal issues," and player and team soon found themselves at loggerheads about how to address White's anxiety in a way that would make him both comfortable and a productive professional member of their organization.
The situation continued to deteriorate, as the Rockets suspended White in January after he refused an assignment to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Rockets' D-League affiliate. A couple of weeks later, the two sides reached an agreement to bring White back into the fold that included a formal, written protocol to dictate each side's rights and responsibilities on matters related to White's anxiety disorder. White made his D-League debut on Feb. 12; just over a month later, he announced he'd no longer play for the Vipers; a week after that, he returned to finish the regular season, but said he wouldn't suit up for the playoffs.
The Rockets traded White and the rights to Turkish forward Furkan Aldemir to the 76ers in July in a cap-clearing move designed to aid their pursuit of free-agent center Dwight Howard (which, as you know, was successful). White never played a second for Houston, and what role, if any, he'll have with the Sixers remains unclear.
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