I. Thomas Is Sued for Harassment

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Anucha Browne Sanders , one of the highest-ranking black female executives in professional sports, sued New York Knicks President Isiah Thomas and Madison Square Garden for sexual harassment.

The lawsuit, filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in New York, claims Thomas began harassing Browne Sanders soon after he joined the franchise in Dec. 2003 and that the team fired her in retaliation for complaints about the matter.

"Contrary to Thomas's carefully cultivated public persona, he is capable of abhorrent behavior in private," Browne Sanders claims in the 18-page lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages and reinstatement as team senior vice president of marketing and business operations. Browne Sanders held that post since 2002 until her firing a few days ago, her suit says.

Peter Parcher , an attorney for Thomas, in a statement called the lawsuit "a blatant and cynical attempt to get a large sum of money from Madison Square Garden by taking advantage of the celebrity status of my client."

Ronald Green , the attorney representing Madison Square Garden, said in a statement that Browne Sanders was fired "because of her inability to fulfill professional responsibilities."

The suit says that in December 2004, Thomas began making sexual overtures at Browne Sanders. After a Dec. 30, 2004, Knicks game Thomas hugged Browne Sanders tightly and said he was "in love" with her and that they were "so much alike," she says in the suit.

· NO SUITS: The Bulls fan whose confrontation with Antonio Davis 's wife led the Knicks forward to rush into the stands will not sue the player and his wife.

In a joint statement released Monday, Michael Axelrod and the Davises said the episode evolved from "some simple misunderstandings."

Axelrod and Kendra Davis exchanged words during last Wednesday's Bulls-Knicks game, and the trouble escalated from there. Another fan became involved, and Antonio Davis ran into the stands during a timeout in overtime.

He was ejected and, ultimately, suspended for five games by the NBA. He issued a statement after the game saying a drunk fan had touched Kendra.

-- From News Services

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