*Years after bringing a sexual harassment suit against Isiah Thomas, Anucha Browne is fighting to make what really happened between her and the then-New York Knicks coach known.
The New York Daily News reports that Brown’s efforts come in response to statements Thomas and Madison Square Garden, the team’s home stadium, made to discredit Brown’s allegations in light of the former NBA player recently being named president of the WNBA’s New York Liberty.
The new drama stems from Brown filing her lawsuit against Thomas back in 2007. A settlement was ultimately reached in the case, with a jury ordering MSG and its chairman James Dolan to settle for $11.5 million, instead of Thomas. With Thomas dodging any punishment related to Browne’s accusations, it looks like Thomas and MSG believe the jury’s ruling was its way of clearing Thomas of any wrongdoing.
MSG executives stand by Thomas as they stand by their belief that he didn’t do or say anything that Browne claimed, which according to the Daily News, included calling her a “ho” and a “bitch” in private conversations as well as conducting himself as a “foulmouthed bully who went on tirades at a moment’s notice.”
“We did not believe the allegations then, and we don’t believe them now. We feel strongly that the jury improperly and unfairly held Isaiah Thomas responsible for sordid allegations that were completely unrelated to him, and for which MSG bore responsibility,” a statement from MSG read. “In fact, when given the opportunity, the jury did not find Isaiah liable for punitive damages, confirming he did not act maliciously or in bad faith. We believe Isaiah belongs in basketball, and are grateful that he has committed his considerable talent to help the Liberty succeed.”
Thomas weighed in on the situation Tuesday (May 5) during an ESPN radio interview while maintaining his innocence, saying, “When the jury had an opportunity to fine, they fined Madison Square Garden.
“I was not liable or personally held for anything. The jury found no findings,” he continued. “Anyone who’s vetted this, has looked at it, has come out and found that—as the jury found—that there were no findings in terms of Isaiah Thomas.”
MSG’s statement did not sit well with Browne, who fired back with her own statement pointing out MSG’s inaccurate understanding of their statement.
“The Garden’s recent statement is so beyond what any truthful report could say, that the record needs to be corrected,” Browne stated while highlighting how nearly all the jurors in her sexual harassment case found that Thomas needed to be held responsible for promoting a hostile work environment for women.
“[T]he Garden’s suggestion that the jury somehow exonerated Thomas by failing to award punitive damages against him is simply untrue. To the contrary, six of the seven jurors voted to assess punitive damages against Thomas personally. Had the defendants not settled after the verdict, Thomas would have had to face a retrial on that issue.”
Browne’s statement went on to predict that if Thomas and MSG continued to mention that the jury didn’t recognize Thomas’ wrongdoings in her case, “those who don’t learn from the past will be condemned to repeat it.”
For more on Browne’s situation with Thomas and MSG, click here.