After a few days of deliberation, it seems the jury has found in favor of the complainant in the case against Isiah Thomas and the New York Knicks.
Certainly, anyone subjected to unwelcome advances and abusive language is deserving of protection. And possibly even compensation for the unpleasantness and stress caused by the situation.
Madison Square Garden was also found to be responsible for punitive damages.
Despite the jury's seeming assuredness in their conclusion, one must wonder about the situation.
Was Anucha Browne Saunders granted considerable benefit by the jury in their interpretation of her responsibility in the interactions?
Certainly, Browne Saunders convinced the jury that she was harassed. But, in the arena and business of male sports: what is harassment?
We are talking about a culture of male interaction, relationships, expectations and behavior. Certainly, if a female chooses to enter that world, she should have a thorough indoctrination into the culture. A complete understanding of the world she is entering. The notion that the established culture must change to accommodate the sensibilities of someone entering it is unfair. It's a tyranny of the minority to suggest that now, because Anucha Browne Saunders was unable to adjust to a world that existed in good condition before her association with it, that that world must change.
The fallacious reaction is that the individuals that are already a part of the culture at The Garden should take harassment training and sensitivity training. All in an effort for their successful and happy organization to change to accommodate one individual.
Certainly, the more reasonable course of action would be for Browne Saunders to undergo some sort of counselling or course to help ease her into the culture. To help change her sensibilities, perceptions and attitude. To help her understand that the onus is on her to fit in with the culture.
What efforts did Browne Saunders make to adapt to the Knicks culture? Did she exhaust every opportunity to fit in?
There are accounts that she was the frequent vocalizer of less than civil word choices. So, clearly, at some point she did attempt to fit in to the culture.
Why did she stop trying? Because she realized that this job and culture simply wasn't for her?
There is no shame in that. Sometimes, when one assumes a responsibility that is not suitable in a cultural environment in which fitting in is something they simply can't do, the best course of action is to find one that is suitable. Not damage the already existing culture by trying to force a reconstruction of the already established and well functioning working environment.
Obviously, if Browne Saunders had simply explained herself and left, Thomas and MSG couldn't have had any less respect for her.
By giving up, Browne Saunders may have made herself a lot of money. But, everyday when she looks at her bank account, she will have to live with the fact that she simply quit. She gave up on herself.
And she gave up on being a female and fitting into the culture of the business of male sports.
Because of this, we predict that opportunities for women in male sports front offices will be in even less availability.
Anucha Browne Saunders gave up on women.
And at NOIS, unlike some, we think women are worth more than a $10M settlement.