The Forgotten Scandal.

In a summer that gave us the hyper-focus on Michael Vick, the arguing over Barry Bonds, let everyone know what “making it rain” meant, and threatened the integrity of one sport (and continues to) with regard to Tim Donaghy, we’d almost forgotten something: Isiah Thomas and other higher-ups in the Knick organization are still being sued for sexual harassment, and Anucha Browne Sanders’ case goes to court today.

In court papers, Browne Sanders said that her complaints about Thomas’s behavior were not taken seriously and that the Garden retaliated by firing her in January 2006.

Thomas and Dolan have countered that Browne Sanders, a former star basketball player at Northwestern who joined the Knicks in 2000, could not adjust to working with Thomas after his hiring in late 2003. They also said that her performance dropped off significantly after she was given additional responsibilities in 2005 and that she concocted the sexual-harassment accusations when she felt that her job, which paid more than $200,000 a year, and bonuses, was in jeopardy.

The Garden said Browne Sanders’s lawyers had demanded $6.5 million to avoid a trial and that it proposed severance worth $300,000. She is suing Thomas, Dolan and the Garden for damages of $9.6 million.

The NYT goes on to talk with legal professors, stating that the retaliation case (in Sanders’ firing) is easier to prove than the original harassment. As a PR problem, this is an especially hefty one — the Knicks are still trying to crawl out of what seems to be a decade-long re-building project. If the organization does not settle the case at some point, it runs the risk of being uglier than we have any right to expect; if MSG is found liable, will it have any other recourse but to let Thomas go, no matter what he does with the Knicks? (Isiah does have them on the rebound, safe to say, as far as basketball matters go.)

If the case fans the flames of attention on the Knicks (and it will pick up steam as the NBA season gets closer and closer), what will the public impact be? Will the outrage be akin to what we have seen in response to the malfeasance of individual players? Can’t say for sure, although I suspect not. Sexual harassment cases are often “he said, she said” in nature, and there will be an urge to tiptoe around it — plus, Thomas does deserve to be considered as not liable until he or his bosses are found liable.

Matters involving the front office are always much more difficult to wrap minds around. Depending on how the first stages go, the Knicks might do well to consider settling the matter before the real media focus of pre-season comes into play.


8 Responses

  1. I cannot tell you just how much that I hope this gets settled before October: for both media-villification purposes and because I don’t want isiah distracted…

  2. Yeah, because the Knicks need Isiah to keep all his focus on getting the tea in line with everything else he has done while he has been off the basketball court. Complete and utter failuer at every level and at every turn. What a chump and complete series of chumps that somehow don’t see it. He fails in a huge fashion as a G.M. so the decision was made to move hime to coach, sorrym said that wrong, I mean they gave him EXTRA responsibilities as coach! What the hell? Since the man quit playing he has mightily screwed up everything he has done, the Kincks are just one more thing in a long line of them. They sucked last year, and they’ll suck this year. As long as the stench of failure that surrounds Isiah stays there, they will suck ass! So yeah, keep all his attention on the team. For the good of every other tema out there that is!

  3. Steve, I don’t have time right now and you probably don’t care, but I can refute just about every single statement that you just said. In October I will write in depth at COSELLOUT as to why the biggest myth in sports is that isiah has been a bad GM. You and so many others have been brainwashed by the media. But this is simply not enough space to make that case.

    Barring major injury the Knicks will make the playoffs this year and in 2-3 years from now will be a title contender. Write it down.

  4. I forget about this. boy some one in this is lying and this Micheal Vick thing is northing, because peoples been doing this for a long time, how are your going to stop thing when every one do it while being in the money,drug sex,etc been around a long time and it about time that one who make the big money get right I’m talking the owner who should been done something about myth in sport.

  5. Modi: stop smoking the crack.

    Look at the stats since Thomas has been in charge.
    Numbers dont lie.
    Throw in the fact that he was working with a payroll that was twice as big as any other team, has the appeal for players of playing in NYC AND that its a good thing the NBA doesnt have upper and lower divisions like sports all around the world do because the whole Atlantic division was pathetic during his reign and should have been relegated to a 2nd division, or the D league. (Now, of course he also has to deal with a division where the Raptors are now a good and well run team and a retooled Boston.)
    Even without a bottomless bank account and a weak divsion, this was pathetic run that would have gotten anyone fired.
    I wont even go into his coaching caroussel which culmunated in the Brown fiasco (which of course nooooooooooooo one could see coming,right?)

    I have no idea what games youve been watching the past few years but I get the feeling your last name might be Dolan.

    I suggest you take a look at the above mentioned Raptors since a real GM showed up there two years ago. He started his first year by bringing in 9 NEW players and turned it around in record time.
    THAT is the real deal (and Toronto has to overstock on euros because players think Canada is in Siberia so they were working with a huge disadvantage.) not the excuses we hear every year.

    I dont need to be brainwashed when I have half/season tickets to teh Knicks.
    FU and your condescending atittude. I usually have not problems with people having different opinions, its the self-serving (female anatomy) like you that annoy me. I know your types:
    if someone doesnt agree with your views they are ‘dumb, stupid, ignorant and brainwashed” and you are always right because your mommy told you youre a smart boy.


  6. I’m sorry MODI, my mistake, I looked back at his record since retiring on the court. I was way off. I see he did a fabulous job buying and running the old ABA. It only took him 6 months max took him 6 months max to bankrupt what was a thriving and upward bound league. Err,, I guess any less talent would have taken far longer to accomplish such a task. Next, off to Toronto. Fabulous job there too, again, it took less than a year for the man to be run out of town. So off to Indiana where he got a job through his good buddy Larry Bird. I believe it took him 2 years to burn that bridge down. I may be off here a bit, it’s all from memory. Next off to New York and the raving success that is his legacy. He has had more than ample time to work with that team and show some signs of improvement while a GM. The only people who honestly believe it’s a myth that Isiah is a bad GM, are the onearing the punch back in New York. Even the most ardent and die hard have come to see him for the massive failure he is now, and always has been. How many chances does this frigging chump get? What are you smoking to back this guy up anyway?? I find it hard to believe I’m that far off on this? I’d love to hear some of those retorts, and while your at it, ask Larry Bird his opinion, you wouldn’t say you know more about basketball than Larry Bird would you??

  7. Facts don’t lie. Great Players do not make great Mgt. Ask Michael Jordan, After he left the Wizards. He berated Those players so bad. That Original NBA owner Abe Pollin reneged on a promised front office job for Mike. Kwame Brown his Draft choice needed a shrink after he left. He’s playing better for the Lakers now. Thank God for Minority owner Bob Johnson/Charlotte. M.J. Has brought good friend Hot Rod Higgins aboard. But these guys are only doing what has been done for years when white coaches ran the league, and white coaches went from one team to another. And Coaches like former big Ten Coach Bill Mussleman was hired after a scandal @ Minnesota, and some Coaches who had alcohol problems. Like former Denver Coach Doug Mo. He stayed a lot of years in the NBA. Good journeyman player, bad Coach/George Karl, Seattle/Milwaukee, alcoholic/Mad man personality. Musslemans Son had a dui with Golden. State. They were tolerated. What has Kevin Mchale done @ the Timberwolves as the GM? As Bad as Isaih I believe. Maybe worse because he had a Marquee Player In Kevin Garnett, he couldn’t build a team around. And don’t forget the LA clippers who Kept NBA great Elgin Baylor as GM during over 10 years of futility. Baylor once won an award as the worse executive in any sport. But Owner donald sterling kept him on anyway. Now its Isaiah’s turn, and he’s 20-30 years younger then all the people I have mentioned. Speaking of Bird. What great Mgt decisions has he made, in indiana? Or Danny Ainge from the Anchor booth to the front office? Who does he trade with? Ex friend Kevin Mchale, for Garnett to Boston and a whole loade of garbage players. Isiah maybe wrong, and that will be decided in a court of law and probably mr Dolan and the Garden will pay. But Isiah is no more a bad executive then all of his present counterparts I have mentioned. Oh yes Steve Kerr former Bull is now an executive in the NBA, lets give him time to screw up just like the other guys/Isiah. In closing, MJ with a bad and expensive Divorce from his ex-wife, Kevin Mchale, and Larry Bird, and Danny Ainge, are all terrible Executives, and before them Elgin Baylor, are all bad administrators. As well as the lakers Magic Johnson/GM Kremcheck. 2 of the Best were Bill Russell/Wes Unsell-Bulletts. Though is later years Unsell lost his edge. Another excellent executive was former Royals player Wayne Embry-Cavaliers. He to eventually went downhill. Give Isaiah the chance to learn his craft just like these other guys got their turn 30-40 years older before him. Judge the others Bird, Mchale, and Ainge who havn’t done anything, and still remain in the league. M.J. is far worse then all of them. Magic has the right idea. Just be a Minority owner. Wes Unsell started making moves like Baylor in later years. Russell/Embry had the most sucess, along with K.C. jones, along with lenny Wilkens, who was a excellent player and Coach-Hall of Famer. Fair Gm Not great though “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. Being a former player doesn’t garantee greatness as an executive. Todays players are so much different from players 20-40 years ago. Money is flowing, egos are high. Musselmans Son is named Eric, and he is very young and was given a head coaching job that obviously he wasn’t ready for, judging by his DUI, and loss of coaching job this year. But he will get another chance. He hasn’t paid the dues as a Player, just like an Isiah has. Thomas payed his dues. Lets let him get his day in court.

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