NEW YORK (AP) -She maintains she was booted from a top executive job for the New York Knicks solely because she accused famed head coach Isiah Thomas of boorish and bizarre behavior. The team says she was fired because of her own failings.
It's up to a jury to decide whose version to believe in a $10 million sexual harassment lawsuit. Deliberations began Thursday and were expected to resume Friday.
In closing arguments Thursday, a lawyer for plaintiff Anucha Browne Sanders said the team's owner ``completely fabricated its reasons for firing'' the former executive.
Anne Vladeck told a jury of five women and three men that Madison Square Garden and its chief executive, James Dolan, should be forced to pay punitive damages because money ``is the language the defendants understand.''
At the trial in Manhattan federal court, Browne Sanders leveled accusations - denied by Thomas - that he routinely addressed her as ``bitch'' and ``ho'' during private meetings. Such conduct ``may be OK at the Garden, but it's not OK under the law,'' Vladeck said.
In their closing arguments, defense lawyers argued that Browne Sanders was doomed by her own failure to adapt to an organizational shake-up that began with Thomas's hiring in 2004. A series of clashes with Thomas and star guard Stephon Marbury, poor job performance and personal financial woes put her in a precarious position that prompted her to make false claims, said MSG attorney Ronald Green.
``That's not about sexual harassment,'' he said. ``That's about team politics.''
Thomas' attorney argued that Browne Sanders defied logic by testifying that the once-abusive coach did an abrupt about-face, declaring his love for her and suggesting a liaison ``off site.''
``Interesting term - 'off site,''' said the lawyer, Kathleen Bogas. ``Not particularly romantic. One would expect, 'Let's have dinner.' 'Let's have lunch.' 'Let's have a drink together.' But 'let's go off site'?''
The defense also argued that extensive testimony about Marbury's admitted tryst with an MSG intern - meant to demonstrate an environment of harassment - really was a sideshow.
``What does that have to do with Isiah Thomas? Nothing,'' Bogas said.
Browne Sanders, a 44-year-old former Northwestern University basketball star, says she was dismissed in 2005 because she dared to accuse Thomas of routinely using vulgar language in his first year and of later making unwanted sexual advances toward her. She seeks reinstatement to a job as vice president of marketing, which paid as much as $260,000 a year.
Thomas calmly testified Wednesday that his contact with Browne Sanders was infrequent and usually friendly and respectful, adding that degrading a woman with foul language ``is never OK.''
Advertisement

Top NBA Public Bets

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail NBA Rookie of the Year Pick An intriguing NBA rookie class features one deemed “superstar” in Ben Simmons. Will he be the runaway winner of the Rookie of the Yearin the 2016-17 NBA Season?
Thumbnail Durant has theraputic Olympics The biggest free agent of the 2016 offseason is ready to join his new team as Kevin Duranthad a successful experience at the 2016 Rio...
Thumbnail GS favored as schedule released The NBA released the 2016-17 schedule earlier this week. Here is a look at the latest odds to win the NBA Finals.
Thumbnail Dallas brings in ex-Warrior to join icon When Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki opted out of his contract on June 21, it felt like a slight roadblock to an inevitable reunion between both sides. Little...
Thumbnail Tim Duncan retires The San Antonio Spurs lost their franchise player on Monday, as Tim Duncan elected to retire after an amazing 19-year...
More inNBA Articles  

NBA Team Pages