October 2nd, 2007

Isiah Thomas Found Guilty

Posted by Admin in Knicks, News, Pictures

Isiah Thomas Found Guilty

A jury found today that New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas and Madison Square Garden sexually harassed former team executive Anucha Browne Sanders. Thomas is not liable to pay any damages — however the jury found the Garden liable and ruled that it should pay Browne Sanders punitive damages. Amount of damages is currently undetermined.

During his second day on the stand, Thomas denied harassing or cursing Browne Sanders. “It’s not appropriate and very offensive for any man — black, white, green, purple — to call any woman a bitch,” he said.

He also denied checking out Browne Sanders during a pickup basketball contest, telling her he loved her, or that he’s ever used the phrase “easy on the eyes” to describe anyone.

Claiming that he’d spent only a total of three hours with her during the two years they worked together, he also described his version of what happened at an open practice in December 2005. “Is that the no-love hug?” he laughed, when asked about the exchange.

“I walked up, put my left hand on her shoulder, leaned over, said, ‘Hey Nuch,’ went to give her a kiss on the cheek, and she recoiled in such a way that made me feel uncomfortable, and I said, ‘What, no love today?’ She backed away.”

Thomas also denied allegations by Browne Sanders that he’d made racist comments about Knicks season ticket holders, such as “I don’t give a —- for these white people.”

Earlier, during the trial, jurors heard explosive testimony from Knicks star guard Stephon Marbury, who admitted to calling Browne Sanders a bitch, and described having sex with a team intern in a truck outside a strip club. “Are you going to get in the truck?” he asked 24-year-old Kathleen Decker, who later testified that the encounter was completely consensual.

Decker ended up undercutting Browne Sanders’ argument, denying that she told the former Knicks executive that she felt pressured by Marbury. She also testified that her relationship with Browne Sanders was “uncomfortable,” and that she sometimes felt “inferior” and “unimportant” in the presence of her boss.

Another Knicks employee, Karin Buchholz, also testified for the defense, saying that Browne Sanders became increasingly paranoid during her final months with the team, and once claimed that Knicks owner James Dolan was targeting her because she had fired his son-in-law for poor performance.

Dolan fired Browne Sanders in January 2006, claiming that he took action because she had tried to bully employees into backing her harassment suit. He testified that she demanded millions to make the lawsuit “go away.”

Browne Sanders was helped by the testimony of former Knicks executive Jeffrey Nix, who said that he was present on several occasion when Thomas called her a “bitch” and a “ho.”

Nix, who worked under eight Knicks coaches during his tenure, described a 2004 meeting in which Thomas told her, “Don’t forget, you f—— bitch, I’m the president of this f—— team.”

Thomas reiterated that he did not curse at Browne Sanders, but only in her presence. “I think most people know when they’re being cursed at,” he claimed.

Curse words and profanities have become such a theme of the trial that Judge Gerald Lynch interrupted testimony to tell lawyers, “We’ve spent three weeks in this courtroom discussing vulgar language — there’s no reason to be coy.”

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