Sharpton backs off threats of protests at Knicks games
(New York - WABC, November 3, 2007) (WABC) -- The Reverend Al Sharpton, with Knicks coach Isiah Thomas at his side, said Saturday that after listening to the entire tape he's no longer calling for a boycott of the Knicks.
At issue was what Coach Thomas allegedly said in a taped deposition played at the Anucha Browne sanders sexual harassment trial.
Thomas seemed to be saying it was alright for a black man -- but not for a white man -- to use the "b" word when referring to a black woman.
But Thomas has stressed that the tape didn't properly portray his feelings that it was unacceptable for any man to use that language, only that it was worse if it came from a white man because of the racial overtones involved.
Rutgers women's coach C. Vivian Stringer also had criticized Thomas for the remarks in the deposition, but apologized after speaking to Thomas and hearing his side.
Thomas' wife, Lynn, met with Sharpton and Tamika Mallory, the national director of the Decency Initiative, on Friday night, bringing along a longer portion of the deposition than the approximately 11 minutes that were shown at the trial.
"Clearly in this tape, he said it was unacceptable, he said it was inappropriate, and he did not support it," Sharpton said. "That was not what was shown on television.
"I can also say, along with Vivian Stringer and Tamika Mallory, when people said that Isiah Thomas said it, in the sports vernacular, 'Go to the tape.' The tape says that he said a lot more than that, he said it was inappropriate. And based on that I join Miss Mallory and coach Stringer in saying that that is not a representation of what he said."
Lynn Thomas also made a rare public statement Saturday at the press conference, saying she felt it was "imperative in this issue to make a stand."
"I know my husband never said those things," she said. "If he spoke like that I would not be with him."
The Knicks play Minnesota on Sunday night in their home opener, and Mallory said there were plans for what would have been a "substantial protest."
Sharpton issued the protest threats early last month, shortly after a jury found that Thomas and MSG had sexually harassed former team executive Anucha Browne Sanders. Isiah and Lynn Thomas spoke by phone with Sharpton at that time, and planned a meeting to further discuss their beliefs.
Isiah Thomas detailed those again Saturday, saying he and his wife didn't raise their son believing it was all right to use that language, or their daughter that it was acceptable for her to hear it.
"I never said it was OK, I always said it was inappropriate, it was never acceptable for any man to speak to any female in a derogatory way," Thomas said.
Sharpton praised Thomas for coming to the National Action Network's headquarters in Harlem, even without knowing what kind of reception he would get, rather than holding the press conference at Madison Square Garden. Thomas had been in Cleveland on Friday night, coaching the Knicks in their season-opening loss to the Cavaliers.
- Car dealer charged after selling Sandy-damaged vehicles
- NJ Transit train disabled inside Hudson River tunnel
- Surveillance released in shooting of 9-year-old boy
- Man stabbed on 2 train in Bronx
- Prosecutors likely to reduce charges in SUV assault
- Video: Two US astronauts set to spacewalk to fix ISS
- GWB repair work this weekend
- Father in Army reunites with son in kindergarten class
- Photos: Deadly fire in the Bronx
- Target data breach: 7 Things to know
Most Viewed StoriesMost Viewed Photos