NEW YORK (AP) - Al Sharpton and his National Action Network backed off their threats of protests at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, satisfied with Isiah Thomas' stance on derogatory language toward women.
A taped deposition shown at a sexual harassment trial against Thomas and MSG appeared to show the Knicks coach saying he felt it was OK for a black man, but not a white one, to call a black woman ``bitch.''
But Thomas has stressed that the tape didn't properly portray his feelings that it was unacceptable for any man to use that language, only that it was worse if it came from a white man because of the racial overtones involved.
Thomas' wife, Lynn, met with Sharpton and Tamika Mallory, the national director of the Decency Initiative, on Friday night, bringing along a longer portion of the deposition than the approximately 11 minutes that were shown at the trial.
``Clearly in this tape, he said it was unacceptable, he said it was inappropriate, and he did not support it,'' Sharpton said. ``That was not what was shown on television.''
Lynn Thomas also made a rare public statement Saturday at the press conference, saying she felt it was ``imperative in this issue to make a stand.''
``I know my husband never said those things,'' she said. ``If he spoke like that I would not be with him.''
The Knicks play Minnesota on Sunday night in their home opener, and Mallory said there were plans for what would have been a ``substantial protest.''

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