Exclusivelyexclusive2’s Weblog

October 3, 2007

Anucha, get in the truck…with your $11.6M

Filed under: Uncategorized — exclusivelyexclusive2 @ 1:54 am

This is what happens when yor defense consists of “Yeah, I called her a bitch. What’s the big deal? I’m black, so I can do that.”

http://www.amny.com/news/local/am-thomas1003,0,7732183,print.story

amNY.com

$11.6M verdict latest MSG debacle

By David Freedlander, amNewYork Staff Writer

dfreedlander@am-ny.com

October 3, 2007

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A jury dealt a multimillion-dollar blow to Madison Square Garden’s bawdy boardroom culture Tuesday, finding Knicks coach Isiah Thomas guilty of sexual harassment andputting his boss and the company on the hook for $11.6 million in damages.

The verdict continues the free-fall of one of the NBA’s proudest franchises as the jury found that the team’s owner, James Dolan, created a hostile work environment and retaliated against Anucha Browne Sanders, who brought the suit, by firing her when her complaints were aired to company officials.

Thomas avoided paying punitive damages, but the jury found that Dolan personally owed Browne Sanders $2.6 million.

“Obviously this is a devastating blow to the Knicks organization and will undoubtedly cast a long shadow over Isiah,” said Jim Ryan, a labor lawyer who specializes in sexual harassment law and who had been following the case closely. “It sends a message to the organization that things need to change on an upper management level.”

Sanders is poised to get even more money out of the case, as U.S. District Court Judge Gerard Lynch will decide in the next few weeks how much compensatory damage she’s entitled to. She is asking for about $600,000 in back pay and $9.7 million in damage to her reputation, lost income and pension, as well as other compensation.

According to testimony, Thomas regularly referred to female employees as a “bitch,” that star guard Stephon Marbury had sex in his van with a drunken college-age intern, and that Dolan ordered Browne Sanders be fired when she complained of the treatment.

Mike Kurlyo, who blogs about the team on Knickerblogger.net, decried the team in the Dolan era. “This shows how ineffective he has been,” he said.

“It’s a huge black eye on the organization that has had so much success. They have made one blunder after another. It gets worse and worse. This is the Knicks. It is an organization that is known throughout the country.”

The verdict also was another jolt to a sports world reeling from a summer of scandals.

“[NBA Commissioner] David Stern thought his biggest problem was the Tim Donaghy and the betting scandal,” said sports radio personality and former attorney Paula Duffy. “If the NBA were a public company the CEO would be asked to resign by the board of directors.”

That fate may still await Thomas, a Hall of Fame player brought in by Dolan 2003 to restore the Knicks to respectability and who has largely floundered as the team’s general manager and coach.

“This is going to haunt Isiah big time,” said Jorge Sierra, editor of HoopsHype.com. “The whole thing must be really humiliating… Teams are less willing to put up with the baggage now than they were a few years back.”

After the verdict was announced Thomas continued to defend himself outside the courtroom, saying “I’m very innocent I did not do the things that she accused me in this courtroom of doing,” he said. “I remain confident in the man that I am and what I stand for.”

MSG vowed to appeal the ruling.

“I think it’s reflective of what goes on everywhere. Madison Square Garden is not unique,” said Xiemena Morgan, 34, of Manhattan

“I think harassment goes unreported a lot. I hope this makes a safer environment for women to work in — especially in male-dominated fields like sports.”

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1 Comment »

  1. you dissappeared. did anucha drive off with you?

    Comment by donwill — October 9, 2007 @ 7:44 pm


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