Spokane Shock players have spent part of this week moving out of Big Trout Lodge in Liberty Lake a month before their lease was up and less than three weeks after a teammate allegedly set his bed on fire with a marijuana cigarette.
However, apartment management and the Shock aren’t calling it an eviction.
“I wouldn’t say evicted,” said Riverstone Residential Group regional manager Corina Chamberlain. “It was a mutual agreement. Both parties have decided to go in different directions.”
Team members had been living in more than a dozen team-provided apartments in the complex when Shock player Kevin Ellison was arrested on an arson charge June 14. He told investigators that he set the fire because God told him to, according to federal court documents.
Liberty Lake Police Chief Brian Asmus said his officers have responded to other calls at the apartment complex recently that involved Shock players, including what was reported as a fight in the parking lot on May 27 at 3:25 a.m. Officers found several people in the parking lot, but no one was willing or able to provide details and no arrests were made, Asmus said.
Brady Nelson, majority owner of the AFL team, said he had heard about the fight but didn’t have any details. Chamberlain wouldn’t confirm whether the players’ departure had anything to do with the fire and other incidents. Nelson said he didn’t think there was any direct link between the incidents and the move.
“The season is over in three weeks,” he said. “Our lease was up next month anyway.”
The players are moving into student housing on the Gonzaga University campus and will stay there until the season is over. The move should not affect the players, whose next game is in Philadelphia on Sunday, Nelson said. “If we felt it was going to affect us, we wouldn’t have done it,” he said.
The final regular season game is July 21.
There are no plans to provide team housing next year, Nelson said. Recent contract negotiations increased the players’ salaries and each will be expected to find their own housing, he said.
“I think the days of all the players living in one apartment complex are over,” Nelson said.