Knicks’ Court Loss Could Prove Costly Elsewhere

By Jerald L. Hoover
Updated: October 3, 2007

Knicks NEW YORK I still cannot fathom the thinking of the Garden as to why they even went to trial in the first place.

Especially after the lawyers saw what was going to be presented in the case.

The thinking that no one on the Garden’s side of the ledger wouldn’t be scorned, embarrassed, mis-judged, mis-taken, mis-aligned; and thus scarred possibly for life, boggles my mind to know end.

Some call it arrogance, I personally call it stupidity.

For lawyers who know the law and or profess to know such to think that a franchise such as the New York Knicks (or any other Fortune 500 company) couldn’t be brought down to its knees when dealing with matters of the heart (harassment, negligence and the like) isn’t being realistic.

When you’re dealing with the human element as a friend recently told me, a person could basically walk onto private property of a company with a big warning label out front that reads: DANGER — DO NOT ENTER and go in anyway and gets hurt, bit by a dog or whatever, they would still have more than a 95% chance of getting some sort of compensation.

Sure they would be minus a body part or two (if that were the case) but, they would get paid.

The people that make up the jury are human beings not objects.

In my humble opinion, this sets back100 years what the Civil Rights Movement stood for.

Like I mentioned in this column previously, in the 1960s and 70s when protesting, fighting, being put in jail wrongfully and dying, for equal rights was almost a right of passage for people of color and to have this happen in the 2000s is a blow.

It’s a blow right to the heart.

To have two of the top five — Isiah Thomas, Anucha Brown-Sanders and Steve Mills would be the third and he’s over the aforementioned in rank and file — in hierarchy at Madison Square Garden fighting like this, airing out dirty laundry, exposing skeletons in theirs and other (innocent) people’s closet and individual’s sexual preferences put out in full blast for all the world to see is heartbreaking.

This is a setback.

Sure Ms. Brown has won the case and was awarded $11.6 million to which the Knicks will surely appeal.

But, who really and truly won here?

To have two Blacks fighting like this and for one to say, “I did this for all women,” is nuts.

And the problem is, those two don’t even realize the damage.

This case no doubt will have a ripple down affect on the Black community by way opportunities in the pro sports work place.

Ms. Brown at the time of her firing was the number one rated and highest paid Black woman in the front office in all of the NBA.

Out of the 30 teams that make of the National Basketball Association, Ms. Brown was the top Black female executive.

And if you don’t think this won’t make other organizations think twice about hiring TWO BLACK people in those types of high powered positions at the same time, you’re sadly mistaken

This is a setback because of the younger generation aspiring sports front office types both male and female that looked up to them and desired to be like them only to see that they couldn’t play nice in the same sand box.

I wasn’t there so I don’t know if indeed sexual harassment really took place or not. I for one could have been one of the seven on the jury and formed an opinion based on facts seen and unseen and came up with my own definition or conclusion.

Only the Good Lord upstairs knows for sure what really happened aside from Brown and Thomas. But, I really think that the clash between the two was more personality than anything. Having too strong willed and or bull headed (some call it driven), people working together is bound to cause a fires that require extinguishing.

Did I think that the brush fire would have turned into a towering inferno?

Of course not; and neither did Mills who hired both of them at the recommendation of others.

Ms. Brown was hired because her sister was a good friend of Mills while they both learned stuff at Princeton University.

Isiah was hired because Magic Johnson recommended him to Mills after he turned down the offer to run the Knicks. You think Knicks fans wish Magic would’ve taken Mills up on the offer?

When it’s all said and done and if the Knicks end up paying Brown some where in the neighborhood of six million instead of the 11 million she’s been awarded, they should feel really stupid.

Because had they negotiated and bartered and haggled and did all of the other things that rich folk do when they’re trying to get one up on the competition they could have probably got off by paying somewhere around 2.5 million or so.

Shucks, they had to pay former coach Larry Brown $18 million to sit home for a little while before he went back to work for the Philadelphia 76ers. And they’re about to award big time bust, Jerome James the same amount in buy out that’s sure to happen sooner rather than later.

They could’ve done that and had the documents sealed for some 25 years or so and could’ve pleaded under the “prejudice” label they could have kept some measure of self respect for the organization.

It would’ve been more so nuisance money as opposed to the present situation.

Instead they go to trial and lose big, both monetarily and reputation.

They say a good name is worth more than money. The Knicks or so it seems only have one of the two. But, if they keep spending out like this by losing battles in court and sponsors start to pull out and fans stop going to the games, they won’t end up having either.

And to some, that would be just fine.

In the end, they should have settled!