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Race Raised in Sprewell Case

Associated Press

The agent for suspended all-star guard Latrell Sprewell said Sunday that he thought race may have been a factor in the confrontation between the player and Coach P.J. Carlesimo.

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” agent Arn Tellem said: “I think when you look at it, I don’t think the issue of race can be ignored. I think that’s the best way to answer. I think it must be looked into.

“You have a white coach who has a history of having problems with players in the NBA. Obviously, the players that he’s had problems with are black players,” Tellem said.

However, Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBA Players Assn., said, “I don’t think that that’s the issue at all.”

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“I think what you’ve got is a league that’s predominantly black and an administration that’s predominantly white,” he said on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

“If there are individuals who wish to read the race card or race issue into it, they can do that, but I haven’t found any evidence of that. What I’ve found is that, in this instance, there’s been a rush to judgment. I think the league has overreacted,” said Hunter, who is black.

Sprewell received the longest non-drug suspension in NBA history--one year--Thursday, and the Golden State Warriors terminated the final three years of his four-year, $32-million contract after Sprewell attacked Carlesimo at practice last Monday.

The players’ union has filed grievances against the NBA and the Warriors, arguing that the penalty was excessive.

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The case will be heard by Fordham Law School Dean John Feerick no earlier than Jan. 4.

Sprewell is expected to make a statement Tuesday or Wednesday. Carlesimo did not return phone calls Sunday.

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All-star point guard John Stockton is expected to rejoin the Utah Jazz lineup today after an eight-week layoff because of knee surgery, The Desert News reported.

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At the time of the surgery, doctors predicted Stockton would return in eight to 12 weeks. Today marks eight weeks.


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