Yesterday, the WNBA announced that Isiah Thomas’ partial ownership request for the New York Liberty was suspended. Well, more details have emerged that Thomas was going to be denied ownership, per a USA Today report.
Yesterday, the WNBA and the New York Liberty announced that Isiah Thomas’ application for ownership interest in the Liberty was suspended, pending review at a later date.
But more details have emerged that paint a different picture of the true nature of the suspension. Per a report by Howard Megdal in USA Today, three people with familiarity of the league’s position spoke that this was nothing more than a face-saving compromise, as the WNBA was ready to deny Thomas ownership.
Here is some of the report:
“While the statement went on to state that the “process will resume at a future time as determined by the Liberty,” three people with knowledge of the situation indicated to USA TODAY Sports that the decision to suspend consideration came as a face-saving measure for Jim Dolan ahead of what was going to be a thumbs-down from the league on Thomas as an owner. The people spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation.”
The league had quickly responded to the Liberty’s announcement on May 5 with one of its own, explaining that the ownership process required league approval. A committee of six owners was set up to study the issue, including Ginny Gilder, owner of the Seattle Storm, which issued a statement raising concerns about Thomas.
“I think this suspension will allow everyone to focus on the 19th season, which is off to a terrific start,” WNBA president Laurel J. Richie said in a phone interview Monday. “I’m glad that we will now all shift our focus to the game.”
Thomas’ affiliation with the Liberty, which was announced on May 5 when he was named President, has created a maelstrom within the women’s basketball community.
Owners and coaches, most notably Anne Donovan of the Connecticut Sun, from the WNBA have spoken up vehemently about Thomas’ attachment to the league, because Thomas was a part of a sexual harassment lawsuit, which ended up with a jury awarding Anucha Browne Sanders — a former Knicks executive — $11.6 million.