image source: Google images
*New York Knicks president and head coach Isiah Thomas is the latest target of activist Al Sharpton for comments made about black women during his federal sexual harassment lawsuit.
The reverend and his National Action Network are threatening to demonstrate against Thomas and the Knicks outside of Madison Square Garden this season if he doesn't apologize for suggesting that there are different standards regarding the acceptable use of derogatory language toward black women.
Thomas was convicted of sexual harassment against Anucha Browne Sanders, a former vice president of marketing for the Knicks. In a videotaped deposition, Thomas said: "A white man calling a black female 'bitch,' that is wrong with me. I am not accepting that. That's a problem for me." But, asked whether he would be as angry if the same words came from a black man, Thomas said, "Not as much. …I'm sorry to say, I do make a distinction."
"If, in fact, that's what Mr. Thomas said, he's wrong," Sharpton said at the weekly Harlem gathering of his National Action Network.
Sharpton said that during a conversation with Thomas Saturday, the Knicks coach complained that his videotaped deposition had been "spliced" in a way that took his comments out of context. "I said, 'Why have you not made that clear?' He said, 'Well, I've not been able to make it clear,"' Sharpton said, recounting the conversation.
Speaking at the Knicks' training camp in Charleston, S.C., Thomas said he hoped Sharpton would judge him based on "the facts" and not "the edited, spliced video that was leaked."
"I know what I said and what I was talking about, and how I said it was taken out of context and spliced in the video that made it say something else," Thomas said.
The deposition tape was played to a jury during a three-week civil trial that ended Tuesday in Manhattan. A jury ordered the owners of the Knicks to pay $11.6 million to Sanders, after finding she endured two years of insults and unwanted advances from Thomas.
Madison Square Garden will pay $6 million of the total judgment for condoning a hostile work environment and $2.6 million for retaliation, while chairman James Dolan will pay $3 million.
Thomas, however, was not ordered to pay any of the damages, but he is planning to appeal the ruling in an effort to save his reputation.
"I want to say this as loud as I possibly can. I'm innocent; I'm very innocent, and I did not do the things she accused me in that courtroom of doing," he said.
In Los Angeles, local civil rights leaders wrote a letter to Laker’s owner Jerry Buss Friday urging him to join the national call for Thomas to publicly apologize.
“By joining in the call for Thomas to apologize for his demeaning remarks against women, the Lakers organization will send the strong message that sexual harassment will not be condoned,” says Earl Ofari Hutchinson, President, Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, and Eddie Jones, President, Los Angeles Civil Rights Assn.
I'm definitely feeling Al, on the apology. However, I'm wondering if the apology has come too little, too late?
Isaiah's trippin over his statement being taken out of context, but it seems the sexual harrassment wasn't taken out of context...seeing as how he was found guilty.
The sad part is, when Isaiah lived here in Michigan, I met him at the airport and I thought he was one of the nicest of the Detroit Pistons...hmmm.
Can you be nice and still be guilty of sexual harrassment? Apparently so.
*Note To Isaiah:
You better recognize what's more important...words that you say were "taken out of context," or the treatment of women (not just black women) you come in contact with.
I truly feel sorry for your wife.