The Women's Sports Foundation launched a change.org petition on Thursday calling for the WNBA Board of Governors to deny Isiah Thomas as the new president of the New York Liberty.
Thomas was hired as president of the Liberty earlier this month and given a minority ownership stake in the team. The ownership move is pending WNBA approval.
In 2007, a jury ruled that the NBA's New York Knicks improperly fired former executive Anucha Browne Sanders after she complained Thomas had sexually harassed her. The Madison Square Garden Company paid Sanders $11.5 million in a settlement. Thomas was not found personally liable.
From the WSF's petition:
"Every day, young girls across the country hone their skills in hopes of one day scoring the winning basket on a college court or in the WNBA Championships. The WNBA’s message to those girls if Mr. Thomas is approved as part-owner of the New York Liberty is that sexual harassment – inexcusable behavior in any other workplace – is not only tolerated but is instead rewarded at the WNBA. When Donald Sterling was found making disparaging racial comments, he was banned from professional basketball for the rest of his life. The same rules must apply to sexual misconduct and the WNBA."
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On Thursday, Thomas said he has discussed his history of sexual harassment with his players and told reporters he's "always maintained my innocence."
Last week, the New York Daily News reported that Knicks president Phil Jackson is unhappy team owner James Dolan hired Thomas to be the president of the Liberty.
- Molly Geary and Dan Gartland