SBD/Issue 91/Franchises

ABA Rhythm Co-Owner Fires Coach After On-Court Dispute

ABA Nashville Rhythm co-Owner Sally Anthony on Saturday fired coach Ashley McElhiney after the two had an on-court dispute concerning the playing time of F Matt Freije, according to Billy Byler of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. Anthony “approached McElhiney during the game and instructed her to bench Freije,” a former NBAer who had been signed to a two-game, $10,000 contract by Anthony’s co-Owner and husband Tony Bucher and GM Daniel Bucher. Anthony was escorted off the court by security. Following the game, Anthony told the players they had 24 hours “to decide whether they would side with her or McElhiney” (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 1/31). Anthony: “If they’re willing to stick their neck out for Ashley, and that would be dumb, I would fold the team right now” (TENNESSEAN, 1/30). ABA Chair Joe Newman, who said that he will fine the team and donate the money to inner-city youth programs, said, “I have six, eight people who would move in there (and buy the team) in about six seconds. They can rescind (the firing). From a PR standpoint, it’s just the dumbest thing. I talked to Sally for a couple minutes [Monday] morning, but then I decided I didn’t want to talk to Sally. She’s a rock and roll singer ... who should stay away from games” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/1).

NOTE: In Nashville, Mike Organ reports paramedics were called to Anthony’s apartment Sunday morning after her sister-in-law called 911 to report that Anthony had overdosed on Xanax and alcohol. The caller said, “I don’t know if she really meant to kill herself. ... She definitely meant to hurt herself.” Anthony’s mother, Kathy Schroeder, called the alleged overdose “a total lie” (TENNESSEAN, 2/1).

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