NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The WNBA and New York Liberty have agreed to suspend Isiah Thomas’ ownership application indefinitely.
“After further discussion and with the season underway, the WNBA and the New York Liberty have agreed to suspend consideration of Isiah Thomas’ application for an ownership interest in the Liberty until further notice,” the statement from the WNBA said Monday. “The process will resume at a future time as determined by the Liberty.”
Thomas is still the president of the team, and he said in an interview with The Associated Press at the start of the season that the two positions weren’t directly connected.
WNBA President Laurel J. Richie said when Thomas was first hired as president in early May that it was “first and foremost a team decision.”
A former Knicks team president, Thomas was the subject of a lawsuit by former Madison Square Garden employee Anucha Browne Sanders that he sexually harassed her. The suit cost MSG $11.5 million, but the Hall of Fame player maintained his innocence and said he was never found personally liable. Even after the settlement, Knicks and Liberty owner James Dolan kept Thomas on in an unspecified role with the NBA team.
Dolan’s Knicks didn’t win a single playoff game during Thomas’ stint as president from December 2003 to April 2008 despite regularly owning the NBA’s highest payroll. Thomas also went 56-108 in two seasons as their coach before being fired.
Richie said Monday that the decision to suspend the ownership application came from conversations between the team and league over the last few weeks.
“We know that should they choose to bring it up to our attention again, we would reconvene the committee,” she told The Associated Press in a phone interview.
Richie said that the six-member Board of Governors committee, which was formed three weeks ago, was still early in the vetting process of the application.
“The nature of the discussions were private, and out of respect for our owners and the committee we will keep it that way,” she said.
The Liberty are off to a 4-3 start. They will play the Tulsa Shock on Friday in Oklahoma before returning home Sunday to face Los Angeles.
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