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mi': gateway . volume xcviii numix-r 10 

spor'I's 21 

Women deserve better than the 
likes of Thomas and the Garden 

To a certain extent, one expects sexism and 
crudeness to exist in an all-male environment like, 
say. a locker room. It's hardly ideal, but its private, 
and not particularly harmful as long as it stays within 
those walls. Its basically more of a landing exercise 
than any tiling else." 

A s spons editor, and one of only 
two females on the Gateway 
editorial staff, 1 often com¬ 
plain about the often extremely 
graphic "dttdeversations" that I’m 
forced to overhear, not to mention 
having to deal with some male ath¬ 
letes who keep their eyes significantly 
below my face during interviews, if 
you catch my drift. 

That said, it's nothing compared 
to what some women have to deal 
with in the workplace. Women like 
Anucha Browne Sanders, who was 
vice-president of marketing and busi¬ 
ness operations for the New York 
Knicks. On Wednesday, a jury ruled 
ill her favour, bringing to an encl a 
three-week-long sexual harassment 
trial she filed against the Knicks orga¬ 
nization, Madison Square Garden 
(MSG), and Knicks President and 
head coadi Isiah Thomas. 

According to Browne Sanders. 
Thomas treated her terribly when 
he was hired by the Knicks in 2003, 
discriminating on her because oi 
her gender and referring to her as a 
“bitch” and a “ho." 

The married father of two eventu¬ 
ally changed his opinion of her, how¬ 
ever, and began treating her terribly 
in a different way: making unwanted 
advances, trying to kiss her. and 
repeatedly inviting her to get to know 
him better with a few “off-site” visits. 
When she complained to her bosses, 
and asked co-workers to back up her 

claims, she was fired for “incompe¬ 
tence.” So she took them all to court 
for harassment and wrongful dismiss¬ 
al—and rightfully so. 

The fact that MSG was held respon¬ 
sible for their actions is fantastic— 
they're being forced to pay S8.6 
million in reparations for condoning 
a hostile work environment and retal¬ 
iation, while chairman, James Dolan, 
is on the hook for another S3 mil¬ 
lion for being the one who fired her 
and for doing so in such a childish 
and petty manner. It seems slightly 
ridiculous that Thomas wasn't found 
liable for any money; regardless, the 
whole affair has brought the issue of 
treatment of women in male-domi¬ 
nated workplaces back to the front of 
peoples' minds. 

To a certain extent, one expects 
sexism and crudeness to exist in an 
all-male environment like, say. a 
locker room. Though it's hardly ideal, 
it's private and not particularly harm¬ 
ful as long as it stays within those 
walls. It’s basically more of a bond¬ 
ing exercise than anything else. But 
it’s when that sort of attitude leaves 
the locker room and enters a place 
of work that it becomes completely 
unacceptable. In the case of Browne 
Sanders and the Knicks, it seems that 
blatant sexism was. if not actually 
encouraged, at least accepted; other¬ 
wise. Browne Sanders would never 
have been fired. 

It’s outrageous that, in this day and 

age. people would still be pulling this 
crap. This isn’t the '50s; the mousta¬ 
chioed executive can't just pinch his 
secretary's behind and expect just a 
giggle in response. It seems as well 
that these sort of incidences are espe¬ 
cially prevalent in the sports wodd; 
hearing the sort of insults Browne 
Sanders had to endure inevitably 
brings to mind the Don Imus scandal 
earlier this year. Though of course he 
was mainly being a racist prick when 
he called the Rutgers University 
women’s basketful! team “nappy- 
headed hos” on the radio, he was also 
being a sexist pig. 

It's about time that women in 
business, sports, and the business 
of spons stood up for themselves 
and their place in their professions. 
Browne Sanders deserved her job 
with the Knicks as much as any of her 
co-workers did; a college basket¬ 
ball star herself with Northwestern 
University, and an experienced mar¬ 
keter who had been with the Knicks 
longer than Thomas has, it was unac¬ 
ceptable that she was made to feel 
uncomfortable at work. 

Women shouldn't have to play 
along, act like "one of die boys," or 
put up with bullshit like Thomas was 
dishing out. Browne Sanders did us 
all a favour by standing up for her¬ 
self. and sent a message to teams and 
boardrooms everywhere that women 
belong in the world of sports, and 
deserve respect. 

... And so do the Knicks and their fans 

Even Kobe’s posl-alleged-rape behaviour belter than Thomas’ present attitude 

A s anyone I’ve ever discussed 
basketball with can tell you, 
1 generally don’t care for 
Kobe Bryant, be it his attitude, his 
ball-hogging abilities, or his "extracur¬ 
ricular endeavours,” if you catch my 
drift. Having said that I'm always one 
to give credit where credit is due, so 
here goes: at least Kobe bad the balls 
to show some sort of remorse for his 
sexual wrongdoings, even if it was just 
the infidelity and not the accused rape. 

Whether it was genuine or just a 
well-scripted template of an accep¬ 
tance speech, at least he came out and 
said something that showed even a 
glimmerof self-reflection and the real¬ 
ization that he had done something 
wrong, and was apologetic towards 
his wife for having done so. 

On the other hand, with the recent 
scandal surrounding New York 
Knicks head coach Isiah Tlionias, 
I’m absolutely astonished at die com¬ 
pletely nonchalant attitude that he has 
adopted towards tlie whole matter— 
despite having been found guilty 
within the first two days of delib¬ 
eration of sexually harassing former 

Knicks executive Anucha Browne 
Sanders—by further insulting her by 
pubUdy stating that he was think¬ 
ing entirely about basketball and his 
team’s upcoming season during the 
whole three-week trial. 

To walk around and exude confi¬ 
dence that you are innocent during 
the trial is one thing, but to come out 
and essentially say that calling some¬ 
one a "bitch” (among other tilings) 
and making sexual advances in the 
workplace isn’t important compared 
to coaching a team that will prob¬ 
ably, once again, finish outside of 
the Eastern Conference playofl race is 
absolutely baffling. 

Even worse than that, however, is 
the attitude of the corporate parties 
involved, whether directly or indi¬ 
rectly, in this situation. The Knicks 
have yet to iay dow n any law on either 
Thomas or Madison Square Garden 
chairman James Dolan, and the NBA 
has refused to even comment on the 
matter. I mean, this issue may not 
be really about basketball, but they 
should be sending some sort of warn¬ 
ing signal that this kind of Ixdiaviour 
won’t be tolerated. Mark Bell of the 
Toronto Maple Leafs committed a hit- 
and-run outside of the hockey world, 
and faces a 15-game suspension that 
began Wednesday night. 

But, of course, the commissioner 
wouldn’t want step on the toes of the 
NBA team owners—particulariy a 
conglomerate as large, wealthy, and 

domineering as the New York Knicks. 
Cableviskm, and MSG group—because 
they don’t want to suffer the backlash erf 
the owners from any potential revolts. 
Instead, they put forward a terrible 
image to the people who support their 
game. Double-edged sword, I suppose, 
but loyalty to the NBA fa ns sliould really 
win out here over the businessmen that 
keep the machine well-oiled. 

Thomas also stated that, in his very 
humble opinion, the trial and convic¬ 
tion wouldn't be a distraction to his 
team come pre-season play. Think that 
something of this magnitude won't be 
a distraction—and probably having 
false hope that this will just go away 
quickly enough—is just completely 
irresponsible, not to mention unfair 
to his players, it’s bad enough that the 
Knicks have had some mediocre sea¬ 
sons in the past few years, and that 
their divisional rival Boston Celtics 
loaded up their roster with three times 
the star power this offseason, without 
having to suffer another potential set¬ 
back in their quest to make it back to 
the playoffs. The players want to win 
and to be able to do it in a town as 
crazy about their basketball team as 
New York City. 

Isiah is running the public's percep¬ 
tion of him into the ground, and will 
continue to do so until he puDs a Kobe 
Bryam by coming out and showing 
some form of remorse not only for 
what he has done, but what he has put 
ihe people around him through. 

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