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SPREWELL FINALLY GETS HIS CHANCE TO TELL HIS SIDE OF STORY
Published January 30, 1998
Latrell Sprewell testified for the first time at his grievance hearing yesterday, answering questions before arbitrator John Feerick for "about 6 hours and 15 minutes," according to David Steele of the S.F. CHRONICLE. Sprewell started at 9:00am PT, broke for lunch at 12:30pm, and then returned at 2:30pm. In between, Feerick heard testimony from Warriors team doctor Robert Albo. The final witness of the day was Warriors VP Al Attles (S.F. CHRONICLE, 1/30). In N.Y., Mike Wise reports sources who said that "in the morning session Sprewell answered questions clearly, that he never grew upset or became emotional and that his demeanor ran between calm and attentive" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/30). In San Jose, Jesse Barkin writes the case "ultimately" might be decided on whether Feerick "believed Sprewell" during his testimony (S.J. MERCURY NEWS, 1/30). NEWSDAY's Greg Logan reports that "no other witnesses were in the same room when Sprewell testified. So, the atmosphere was not as emotionally charged as on Wednesday when [Warriors coach P.J.] Carlesimo and Sprewell sat across a table from each other." The hearing will continue today in OR and resume next week in New York through Thursday (NEWSDAY, 1/30). BEHIND THE SCENES: A gag order imposed by Feerick has prevented hearing participants from speaking to the media. But while the NBPA is arguing the league's claim that Sprewell returned to the team's practice a second time on December 1 in a premeditated attack on Carlesimo, sources told Thomas Heath of the WASHINGTON POST that "at least one player who testified" has said that "he did not see Sprewell strike Carlesimo a second time" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/30). BULLISH BEHAVIOR: The Bulls were in Portland last night and Michael Jordan commented on the Sprewell case: "There's a morality clause in each and every contract. ... Anything detrimental to the league or to the team can terminate you. That's not hidden in the contract." But Jordan questioned the league's disciplinary process: "[T]hey gave three different penalties, and it raised a lot of questions and, I guess, created an argument for Sprewell" (NEWSDAY, 1/30). Bulls coach Phil Jackson, on the one-year suspension: "I think there's some reason to say that might be a little bit long" (Terry Armour, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/30).