Anucha Browne Sanders
|1985 Taipei||Team Competition|
Anucha Browne Sanders is an American former women's basketball player and a former executive for the New York Knicks of the NBA. She is also known for winning a sexual harassment lawsuit that she filed against former New York Knicks general manager Isiah Thomas and Madison Square Garden.
In 1982, she enrolled at Northwestern University, where she was a star on the school's women's basketball team. She was selected to the all-Big Ten team three times, and Big Ten Player of the Year twice; she also holds the all-time conference records for scoring (2,307 points) and rebounds (951), and in 1985 led all Division I women's basketball players nationwide in scoring average with 30.5 points per game. According to an article published by Northwestern University, Sanders may be "pound for pound, one of the most accomplished athletes in the school's history".
Browne graduated from Northwestern in 1985 with a degree in communications, and was selected to the school's athletic Hall of Fame in 1993. She later would complete a master's degree in Marketing Communication at Florida State University.
After graduation, Browne continued to participate in organized basketball to some extent. She was briefly on the United States Women's National team, and participated in several organized exhibition tournaments. However, an attempt at a pro career in the WNBA (which did not start operations for more than a decade after her graduation) did not pan out; she applied for that league's draft and was not selected.
Browne was named to the team representing the USA at the 1985 William Jones Cup competition in Taipei, Taiwan. After losing an early game to Sweden, Team USA won the next six games, including a two-point victory in the final game against Japan, to secure the championship. She scored five points at the event.
Post basketball career
After her collegiate career ended, Browne Sanders worked for eleven years for IBM in several roles; her final role was as a program manager in the company's Worldwide Sports Office. As program manager, she oversaw IBM's marketing sports-related marketing activities, including at the Olympic Games in 1996, 1998, and 2000.
In 2000, Browne Sanders was hired by the New York Knicks as a marketing executive.
In 2002, she was promoted to the position of senior vice president of marketing and business operations by the franchise, making her one of the most powerful female black executives in pro sports in the United States. She held that role for nearly four years, until January 2006, when she was fired.
Honors and awards
- Sports Business Journal 's "40 under 40" list, given to up-and-coming young sports executives.
- 1993: Inducted into the Northwestern Athletics Hall of Fame
- Northwestern University's Athlete of the Decade for the 1980s.
Sanders is married with three children. She is currently the vice president of women's basketball championships for the NCAA after serving as senior associate athletics director for marketing and senior woman administrator at the University at Buffalo.
Sexual harassment lawsuit
Several days after her firing in January 2006, Browne Sanders filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against New York Knicks general manager Isiah Thomas and Madison Square Garden (the corporation which owns the Knicks and several other New York sports franchises). The suit claimed that Thomas sexually harassed her, starting with his hiring by the Knicks in December 2003. It further claimed that her firing was in retaliation for her complaints about the alleged harassment. The lawsuit alleged that after Browne Sanders' lawyer told Madison Square Garden of her complaint, Madison Square Garden forced her out of work while it investigated the situation. At the conclusion of the investigation, Madison Square Garden fired Browne Sanders, allegedly because of "an inability to fulfill professional responsibilities."
The lawsuit sought unspecified damages, and reinstatement to her former position with the Knicks.
In August 2006, the lawsuit was expanded to include Knicks and Cablevision owner James Dolan as a defendant.
On October 2, 2007, the jury returned a verdict finding Thomas and Madison Square Garden liable for sexual harassment. The jury also levied $11.6 million in punitive damages against MSG, but not Thomas. The defendants indicated that they would appeal the verdict. However, on December 10, 2007, the Knicks announced that the lawsuit had been settled for an unspecified amount, later revealed to be $11.5 million.
- "Slam Dunk in the Big Apple". Northwestern Magazine accessdate=2007-10-03.
- Northwestern sports page, accessed 2007-10-03
- USA Women's Basketball All-Time Roster, accessed 2007-10-03 Archived September 30, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- "1985 WOMEN'S R. WILLIAM JONES CUP". USA Basketball. Retrieved 15 Oct 2013.
- Sports Business Journal, accessed 2007-10-03
- "Thomas Is Sued for Harassment", The Washington Post, 2006-01-25. Accessed 2007-10-03.
- "Jury: Isiah, MSG liable in harassment case". Fox Sports. 2007-10-02. Retrieved 2007-10-03.
- "Knicks settle Anucha Browne Sanders suit". New York. Archived from the original on December 12, 2007.
- Sandomir, Richard (2007-12-11). "Garden Settles Harassment Case for $11.5 million". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-25.