SBD/19/Leagues Governing Bodies

LATRELL GOES TO THE WELL ONE MORE TIME: THREATENS LAWSUIT

          Attorneys representing Warriors G Latrell Sprewell
     "have notified the NBA that they are considering suing the
     league, and the Warriors," for $30M in damages, according to
     David Steele of the S.F. CHRONICLE.  The suit would "charge
     violations of his civil rights and of federal antitrust and
     labor laws, and demand that Sprewell not only be returned"
     the $6.4M he lost from his 68-game suspension, but that the
     Warriors trade him "immediately."  As of yesterday, the suit
     had not been filed.  Sprewell is being represented by
     Atlanta-based labor lawyer Robert Thompson, who said that a
     suit is "something [Sprewell's] been weighing over time." 
     Thompson also said that Sprewell is "investigating" whether
     the decision of arbitrator John Feerick can be overturned in
     court "on a number of grounds."  Those include the
     "argument" that Sprewell was punished "more harshly because
     he is black," that he was punished twice for the same crime,
     and that the league and team "engaged in a 'demonization' of
     his image and 'conspiracy and restraint of trade' by
     depriving him of his livelihood" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/19). 
          NBPA NOT INVOLVED: Steele adds that it was "obvious"
     that Sprewell's "various representatives and advisers were
     not in total agreement with the proposed suit."  An NBPA
     spokesperson said, "Make this clear: We're not a part of
     this action at all."  Sprewell's agent, Arn Tellem, could
     not be reached for comment (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/19).  
          NBA RESPONSE & REAX: In a statement, NBA Exec VP/Chief
     Legal Officer Jeffrey Mishkin called Sprewell's proposed
     suit "totally absurd" (NBA).  TNT's Kenny Smith: "If I'm
     Latrell Sprewell, sometimes you gotta just know when to fold
     them.  I think I would just fold the tent on this.  Go ahead
     and play basketball.  You're reinstated" (TNT, 5/18).  P.J.
     Carlesimo was on ESPN's "Up Close" and said the team has
     "two options" with Sprewell: "Spree's going to be in Golden
     State or we're going to be able to do a deal.  I think both
     of us right now would prefer that we do a deal.  And that's
     probably the best thing for the team" (ESPN, 5/18).
 
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