ATLANTA - Despite telling the media just 30 minutes prior to the Tulsa game that he had taken no disciplinary action against Angel McCoughtry, newly appointed Atlanta Dream head coach Fred Williams finally came clean after the game, admitting he suspended McCoughtry for violating team rules yesterday when he replaced the fired Marynell Meadors.
“The change happened when I took over the team,” said Williams after losing his first game as head coach to the Tulsa Shock 84-80. “She is suspended indefinitely until we have a conversation and we can clear some things in the air.”
Williams will meet with McCoughtry tomorrow and said she must meet certain conditions to remain on the team. “I have to thoroughly and strongly talk to her about the conditions, and we’ll see where we are tomorrow when we talk.”
But the bigger issue brewing for Atlanta is the fan base, as a season low 2,813 people attended Tuesday's game -- and the handful of season ticket holders in the building feel the entire situation has been botched by ownership.
“The owners need to come forward and be honest with the fans and let us know why things happened,” said five-year ticket holder Kathy Britt. “You can’t let the players run the team, you can’t let a diva player run the team. I’m a huge Angel McCoughtry fan, but this coach got us to the playoffs three seasons and got us to the championship the last two seasons and she deserves some respect.”
“The big picture is, we need a banner hanging up in Philips arena," said first-year season ticket holder Gretchen Hicks. “The issue with Angel needs to be resolved -- if she can be a team player, then let her back on the team, but everyone needs to play as a team and we need to stop these shenanigans.”
With the trade deadline less than 48 hours away, the meeting with McCoughtry will have added pressure. Earlier in the day Williams said he has received calls regarding players on the team, although he would not specify if Angel was on the trading block.
"We are trying to make a playoff push. I like what we have here, but I will get with executives and see if trades are part of the picture," he said. " I am going to do whatever I can to make things happen for this team."
And his first move was to suspend one of the best players in the world -- and then tell reporters he hadn't.
- The Dream drama continues: McCoughtry misses another game
- Meadors out in Atlanta after McCoughtry misses games