HOUSTON (AP) - Former Dallas Mavericks forward Roy Tarpley filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday, claiming the NBA and the team violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing to reinstate him to the league.
Tarpley, who was permanently banned from the NBA in 1995, claimed in his lawsuit that the league and the Mavericks discriminated against him on the basis of his disability as a recovering drug and alcohol abuser.
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In July 2006, Tarpley filed a charge of discrimination against the NBA with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In May, the EEOC sided with the player, ruling the NBA and the Mavericks violated the disabilities act by failing to reinstate Tarpley, who has passed all drug tests he's taken in the last four years.
``I really didn't want to do this, but they left me no choice. We tried to work things out. I applied for reinstatement and they just swept it under the rug,'' Tarpley told Houston television station KRIV, which first reported the lawsuit.
The 42-year-old Tarpley said the lawsuit is not about trying to play again but about clearing his name.
Mavericks spokeswoman Sarah Melton said the team had no comment on the lawsuit. NBA spokesman Tim Frank said the league would not comment.
The 7-foot Tarpley was the seventh pick in the 1986 NBA draft out of Michigan. He played for the Mavericks from 1986 until he was thrown out of the NBA in October 1991 for using cocaine, a violation of the league's substance-abuse policy.
For two years Tarpley played professional basketball in Greece until he was reinstated by the NBA in 1994. He then signed a six-year, $20 million contract with the Mavericks.
But Tarpley's NBA return was brief. He was permanently banned from the league in December 1995 for using alcohol and violating the terms of a court-imposed personal aftercare program.
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