The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 28, 2007; 10:19 PM
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Former NBA player Micheal Ray Richardson was suspended by the Continental Basketball Association on Wednesday for anti-Semitic comments the Albany Patroons' coach made in a newspaper interview.
Richardson will miss the rest of the CBA's best-of-five championship series after he told the Albany Times Union that he had "big-time Jew lawyers" working for him.
"They got a lot of power in this world, you know what I mean? Which I think is great," Richardson told the Times-Union. "I don't think there's nothing wrong with it. If you look in most professional sports, they're run by Jewish people. If you look at a lot of most successful corporations and stuff, more businesses, they're run by Jewish. It's not a knock, but they are some crafty people."
The paper also reported that Richardson yelled at a heckler, using profanity and a gay slur, at Tuesday's Game 1 of the championship series against Yakima. Albany lost the first game at home. Game 2 was Wednesday night.
Patroons owner Ben Fernandez denounced Richardson's comments. During his suspension, the league is investigating the allegations against Richardson.
"We will not tolerate _ and the league will not tolerate _ bigots," Fernandez said.
Richardson will not be allowed to watch the team practice or be present at any of the games.
"It's terrible and I don't think it's fair," Richardson said. "But I want to make an apology if I offended anyone because that's not me."
Assistant Coach Derrick Rowland took over in Richardson's absence.
The Patroons apologized to the public in a release issued Wednesday.
"The Albany Patroons' organization sincerely apologizes to any individuals or ethnic groups that these alleged statements may have offended."
Richardson was the fourth overall pick in the 1978 draft. He joined the NBA out of Montana and played eight seasons with the New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors and New Jersey Nets.
His NBA career ended because of drug use in 1986, when NBA commissioner David Stern banned Richardson for life after he violated the league's drug policy three times.
Richardson began his comeback in 1988, joining the ranks of ex-NBA players in European leagues. His right to play in the NBA was restored that year but he stayed in Italy, where he was a leading scorer and fan favorite.
Richardson failed two cocaine tests in 1991, though he disputed the results.