With Defeat Looming, What's Next for Isiah Thomas, Knicks?
The sexual harassment case against Knicks coach Isiah Thomas may end today.
NEW YORK -- Oct. 2, 2007— -- Isiah Thomas' jaw was clenched tight as he stared at the blank expressions of the seven jurors who had paraded single-file past him, not one of them returning his gaze.
The jury appeared nearly finished finding in favor of plaintiff Anucha Browne Sanders in her sexual harassment suit against Thomas and Madison Square Garden. The note that the jury sent to the judge shortly after 4:30 p.m. said it had reached unanimous verdicts on eight of the nine questions on the verdict sheet.
Isiah Thomas left court on Monday with a ruling nearly at hand.
The members of the jury remained divided 6-1 on Question No. 4, which deals with whether Thomas will be held personally liable for punitive damages. And since the verdict form instructed the jury to skip Question No. 4 unless it had found in favor of the plaintiff, it was apparent the New York Knicks were headed for a defeat.
A short time later Thomas tried to summon a smile as he left the front doors of the courthouse and endured the paparazzi treatment for his 100-foot walk to a waiting limo, but the effort seemed half-hearted. The pack of photographers got right up in his face, one of them exiting quite pleased with himself after he had yelled, "C'mon buddy! Look right at me! Right at me!" and had gotten his desired reaction.
There remains just one question for the jury to finalize before this trial moves into the penalty phase, with the jury deciding on punitive damages and the judge ruling on compensatory damages. Meanwhile, Thomas was expected to return to the courtroom Tuesday morning rather than fly to Charleston, S.C. for the start of the Knicks' training camp.
As Monday's jury deliberations brought us to the brink of a verdict, it became apparent that the case will give us plenty to sort out. So let's get to a Q & A to tackle a few of the issues in play here and look ahead to what's going to happen in the days and weeks ahead:
Q: Will Isiah Thomas get fired because of this?
A: The jury has indicated it believes Thomas committed sexual harassment, and his employer could have to pay as much as $10 million to solve a problem Thomas helped create. Given such a finding, if we were dealing with a typical workplace, then yes, of course, he'd be fired.
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