The WNBA released a statement on Monday saying the league and the New York Liberty have suspended their consideration of Isiah Thomas’ application for an ownership interest in the Liberty.
“After further discussion and with the season underway, the WNBA and the New York Liberty have agreed to suspend consideration of Isiah Thomas’ application for an ownership interest in the Liberty until further notice,” the statement read. “The process will resume at a future time as determined by the Liberty.”
Thomas, 54, was appointed president of the Liberty last month and given a minority ownership stake in the team pending WNBA Board of Governors approval.
The decision was met with widespread criticism stemming from the 2007 jury ruling that the 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 found to have created a hostile work environment.
Thomas, who played 13 seasons in the NBA and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2000, was the Knicks’ president of basketball operations from December 2003 to April 2008.
The WNBA formed a six-member committee to vet Thomas’ ownership stake earlier this month.
In his first press conference as a member of the Liberty organization on May 21, Thomas said he had discussed the sexual harassment allegations with the Liberty players.
“We were concerned, and we talked about it,” Thomas said of meeting with Liberty players. “At the end of the day you can only live your truth.
“I’ve always maintained my innocence, moved on from that. Our organization has moved on from that. I’m proud of the way I lived my life.”
The WNBA regular season began June 5. The Liberty are off to a 4–3 start entering Friday’s road game against the Tulsa Shock.
- Mike Fiammetta