Isiah Thomas has given another interview to another columnist, and predictably, it contains at least one quote that's raised eyebrows. In this case, rather than openly dreaming about getting his old job with the Knicks back, Thomas revisits the 2007 Anucha Browne Sanders trial, calling it the low point in his life and maintaining his innocence.
Here's the passage in question, from Rick Morrissey's piece in the Chicago Sun-Times:
To this day, Thomas steadfastly maintains his innocence and finds comfort in the fact that he wasn't ordered to pay a dime toward the jury award. Others have called that semantics.
''The jury, I believe, found Madison Square Garden had a hostile work environment and that she was wrongfully terminated,'' he said. ''Basically, the Garden and [Knicks owner] Jim Dolan were ordered to pay $11 million, and everyone else was found liable for contributing to a hostile work environment. I wasn't ordered to pay anything.''
As a refresher, here's an excerpt from the Times report on the jury's decision:
A federal jury in Manhattan found yesterday that Madison Square Garden and Knicks Coach Isiah Thomas sexually discriminated against a former top executive and ordered that the company and its chairman -- but not the team's coach -- pay her $11.6 million in punitive damages.
The Garden was ordered to pay $6 million for subjecting Ms. Browne Sanders to a hostile work environment and another $2.6 million for firing her in retaliation. The jury ordered that Mr. Dolan pay $3 million for the retaliation. In his testimony, Mr. Dolan said that he alone made the decision to fire her. Mr. Dolan had no comment on the verdict or the award.
Although found liable, Mr. Thomas will not have to pay any of the punitive damages for sexually harassing Ms. Browne Sanders with unwanted sexual advances. One holdout on the seven-member jury kept the panel from holding him financially responsible for the harassment.
So Isiah was indeed found liable — he's a big part of that "everyone else" he refers to, actually — even though he's right that he didn't have to pay any damages. But even if his statement here isn't necessarily untrue, it's seemingly another part of his campaign to reframe his days with the Knicks (you know, back when he was a "visionary") — a campaign that's sure to fail, no matter how carefully he chooses his words.