SPREWELL'S $30M SUIT AGAINST NBA DECRIED AS WASTE OF TIME
Warriors G Latrell Sprewell sued the Warriors and the
NBA yesterday, "seeking lost wages and damages stemming from
what his lawyers allege as excessive discipline for
Sprewell's attack" on coach P.J. Carlesimo last December,
according to Jesse Barkin of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. The
suit, filed in U.S. District Court, alleges the team and
league "made several transgressions -- including a violation
of Sprewell's civil rights, racial discrimination and
violation of antitrust and unfair business practices
statutes at the federal and state level." Sprewell is
"seeking as much" as $30M, which takes into account lost
wages of $6.4M, plus court costs, legal fees and damages
(S.J. MERCURY NEWS, 5/21). The suit also states that the
league "demonized Sprewell with a 'massive' public-relations
campaign that made him a scapegoat." Also named in the suit
were parties "X, Y, and Z," which will be fill-ins for
potential defendants added later. Sprewell was not present
at the press conference, but is scheduled to make a public
comment "in the near future," according to his legal
advisor, Robert Gist. In S.F., C.W. Nevius writes that the
"breadth and the scope of the suit had many observers
raising their eyebrows, but few jumped on the bandwagon."
The NBPA issued a statement that it "has not endorsed this
lawsuit and has advised Mr. Sprewell's attorney against
bringing this action" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/21). In a
statement, NBA Exec VP & Chief Legal Officer Jeffrey Mishkin
said, "This is a poorly disguised attempt by Mr. Sprewell's
new attorneys to reargue claims that have already been
rejected and put to rest by the arbitrator" (NBA).
TIME FOR WAPNER: SI legal analyst Lester Munson said
that Sprewell "is going to go 0-for-4 in this case. His
lawyers were sitting there at the press conference talking
about punitive damages, treble damages, double jeopardy.
They misused almost all of these legal terms. I think the
outcome here is going to be that the NBA will not only win
this case early but also Latrell Sprewell will end up paying
the NBA's attorney's fees for getting this case dismissed"
("Sports Tonight," CNN, 5/20). In S.F., C.W. Nevius writes
that Sprewell's suit is "about revenge" and has "no chance."
Nevius: "This is a long longshot, and a play that a lot of
major law firms wouldn't even begin to touch" (S.F.
CHRONICLE, 5/21). In Denver, Mark Kiszla writes Sprewell's
suit is an example of the "sad tale of a professional sports
league dying slowly at the hands of millionaires who are
above the law. .... Sprewell isn't killing the NBA's
integrity. He's just here to bury it" (DENVER POST, 5/21).
In related news, George magazine named Sprewell one its 20
most fascinating men in politics, saying he "finally set the
bar for what the American public will tolerate from the
modern pro athlete" (N.Y. POST, 5/21).
PLAYERS WARNED TO CLEAN UP: In Seattle, Steve Kelley,
under the header, "NBA Millionaires Continue To Act Anything
But Civil," wrote, "Do the players really think the public
is going to be on their side if owners follow through with
their threat of a lockout?" (SEATTLE TIMES, 5/20).