Former NBA All-Star and St. John’s player Jayson Williams is being inducted into the St. John’s Athletics Hall of Fame. His daughters have denounced the university for honoring a man they refer to as a “deadbeat” and an emotional and verbal abuser in the wake of his fatal shooting of limousine driver Costas “Gus” Christofi in 2002.
Tryumph and Whizdom Williams wrote open letters to the university making damning accusations against their father.
“Why are you being honored and inducted into the hall of fame when I’ve always had to earn my survival, let alone my success, in spite of you? St. John’s University – you should be ashamed of yourself,” wrote Tryumph Jaye Williams.
“I have spent 12 years trying to rationalize the actions of NBA All-Star Jayson Williams, a man clinically diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder. My father’s story is one that has been told by the media and countless bystanders in America. Healing from such a very public tragedy, that was far beyond my control, has been an inexplicably painful journey,” wrote Whizdom J Williams.
“Jayson is an alcoholic, who was emotionally and verbally abusive, a deadbeat father who lacks any sense of remorse. The most traumatizing memory is from about 8 years ago. He was heavily under the influence of alcohol and sleeping pills and he threatened to kill someone. Then he shut me in the garbage disposal room. Next, he forced my ten year old sister and me to clean up his vomit.”
Williams served 27 months in prison for the death of Christofi, after he pled guilty to aggravated assault in 2010.
Despite the objection of his daughters, St. John’s plans to go ahead with the induction during homecoming weekend.
“Jayson Williams’s life journey is one that includes childhood trauma, time spent in a homeless shelter, addiction, incarceration, and recovery; issues that impact countless American families. The family dynamic between Jayson and his children is not a matter that St. John’s University will discuss,” St. John’s spokesperson Brian Browne wrote in an email statement to the AP.
“Part of the recovery and redemption process is restoring trust, accepting help, and finding comfort and support in the journey and that, coupled with his athletic accomplishments, is what St. John’s University recognizes with Jayson Williams during this Homecoming weekend.”
In 2019 Williams talked about his road to recovery and the poor relationship he has with his daughters.
“When my kids tell me you have not put enough time in to be my dad, I understand I haven’t been in their lives,” Williams said. “I have not learned with my own family to make it work. Does that eat me up inside? Yes.
“I love helping people get better. … But I have not done a good job as a father. I’m a great brother. I’m a great friend. But I’m not a good father.”
St. John’s has deemed Williams worthy of an honor, and by his own estimation he seems like a man that wants to do the right things in his life going forward. He should begin the process, if he hasn’t already, of trying to establish a relationship with his daughters.
They may not want it, but an attempt should be made.