Thursday, October 11, 2007

Very Innocent

This is a little dated already, but it stuck with me. For those of you who don't follow sports, the New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden just had a huge sexual harassment judgment go against them. They need to pay a former employee $11.6 million dollars! Follow this link for the whole story or read on for my thoughts and excerpts. And for those out there who like to cast aspersions on the accuser, this woman, Anucha Browne Sanders, has some pretty impressive credentials. She was a vice president of marketing for the team and was making $250k per year. She was a respected college athlete as well. Her problem? She didn't like team president and former NBA great Isaiah Thomas calling her "bitch" or "ho"...

Apparently, Isaiah didn't like her initially and was abusive and degrading toward her. But he warmed up to her and then started hitting on her. She complained to team ownership and was fired. There's a lot of "He said, she said" in this case, but there are some things that are not in dispute. In deposition, Isaiah was asked if it as acceptable to curse at a woman in the workplace. That's a pretty easy question to answer. Unless you are an arrogant moron. He responded that "a white male calling a black female a bitch is highly offensive," Really? How about a black man calling a black woman a bitch? "Not as much." So, there's your credibility in a nutshell.

Don't worry, he was smooth on other issues as well. Isiah explained a controversial 2005 hug with Browne Sanders like this: "I went to give her a kiss on the cheek and she recoiled in such a way that it made me feel uncomfortable, and I said, 'What? No love today?'"

She also got some heat from at least one star player because she wouldn't break rules for him. When asked to remember a heated exchange with Browne Sanders after she wouldn't give him free tickets to a home game, Marbury made one thing clear: "I didn't call her a black bitch. I called her a bitch." Yeah. That can't have helped the case either.

With evidence like this, you have to wonder why they didn't settle out of court.

After the verdict, Isaiah asserted that he was "innocent. Very innocent." Is 'very innocent' like 'slightly pregnant' or 'most original'? When you have to add words to qualify your innocence, especially in light of the undisputed items above, you can just give it up. Admit you made a mistake and that you have a lot to learn and move on.