Anucha Browne Sanders, the 4th leading scorer in in women’s Big Ten history during her days at Northwestern, has a Hoosier on the ropes. From The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir.
A former high-level Knicks executive filed a lawsuit yesterday accusing Isiah Thomas, the team’s president, of sexual harassment and discrimination, saying he had made unwanted advances, cursed her and barred players from working with her on community events.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan, the executive, Anucha Browne Sanders, said that Thomas refused to stop his actions despite her protests and discomfort, and that her immediate supervisor, Steve Mills, the president of Madison Square Garden Sports, did nothing to intercede on her behalf.
Last Thursday, Browne Sanders was fired as the team’s senior vice president for marketing and business operations after an in-house investigation by the Garden found her complaint to be “unsupported.”
Browne Sanders, 43, said in a telephone interview yesterday that she had found her dream job with the Knicks, whom she joined in 2000. Now, she said: “I’m outraged at the termination. I feel they’ve destroyed a stellar sports career.”
In their statement, Thomas’s lawyers, Peter Parcher and Sue Ellen Eisenberg, called the lawsuit a “cynical attempt to get a large sum of money from Madison Square Garden by taking advantage of the celebrity status of our client, who had no day-to-day interaction with her.” Garden officials referred all questions for Thomas to his lawyers.
Browne Sanders, who worked for I.B.M. before joining the Garden, said that Thomas spoke of her crudely to members of his basketball operations staff, telling them not to take directions from her.
In late 2004, she alleges, Thomas’s hostile behavior changed to making sexual overtures. After one game, she said in her lawsuit, he hugged her tightly and told her he had figured out why they had problems. He said he was “in love” with her and they were “so much alike.” She said that he compared his feelings for her to experiences the characters had in the film “Love and Basketball.”
Even if Zeke is innocent, I think it would’ve been worth several million dollars for MSG not to have that last sentence in the newspaper.