SPREWELL FINALLY GETS HIS CHANCE TO TELL HIS SIDE OF STORY
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).