Karleen Thompson sues WNBA

By Yolande Lezine
Updated: February 19, 2009

HOUSTON – Karleen Thompson, the coach of the defunct Houston Comets, has filed a lawsuit against the WNBA, claiming that the league gave her false reassurances about the future of the team and caused her to miss out on other job opportunities.

Thompson filed the suit last Friday in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York. The suit claims that in March 2008, the WNBA decided to take over ownership and control of the Comets from the franchise owners.

This change was kept secret and Thompson didn’t hear about it until August 2008, according to the law suit.

In December 2008, when the team disbanded, the suit claims that league executives continued to assure Thompson that “everything was going great!” However, by the time the club folded, there were no opportunities to find college or professional college jobs.

Rumors had already been circulating about the future of the team throughout the 2008 Houston Comets season. Despite various attempts by management to make the games a “Family Friendly Environment”, it had been stated that the team was going to move from Houston to Lancaster, Texas.

When rumors really started coming out about the future of the Comets organization, I approached Coach Karleen Thompson, who told me that “she had a long conversation and meeting with WNBA President Donna Orender, who assured her that the team nor her job would be going anywhere”.

Thompson became an assistant coach for the Comets in 2005 and was named General Manager and head coach in 2007. The Comets, who won the league’s first four WNBA Championships from 1997 to 2000, ended their final season 17-17 and missed the playoffs for the second straight year.

WNBA spokesman Ron Howard told the Associated Press that “we have not seen the complaint so it would be inappropiate to comment”.

In other WNBA News the Seattle Storm waived former three-time WNBA Most Valuable Player Sheryl Swoopes a day before her 2009 contract would have become guaranteed.

Swoopes, 37, might pursue coaching and becoming a full-time mother. Storm head coach Brian Agler said the move was made to clear space below the $803,000 salary cap.

The 2009 WNBA All-Star game will be returning to Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun Arena. The game will be nationally televised on ABC on Saturday, July 25th at 3:30 p.m. This marks the second time that the WNBA All-Star Game will be played in Connecticut.