Elgin Baylor faces age-old questions while under cross-examination
Discrepancies between former Clippers executive Elgin Baylor’s previous testimony and his current assertions surfaced Tuesday under cross-examination from Clippers general counsel Robert Platt.
This came with Baylor on the stand in his wrongful-termination lawsuit against the team, owner Donald Sterling and executive Andy Roeser in the case being heard at Los Angeles Superior Court.
Baylor, 76, is alleging age discrimination and had testified during the trial that Sterling and club President Roeser frequently asked him how much longer he intended to stay on. The Clippers have denied his age discrimination allegations.
Platt showed video testimony from Baylor in a pretrial deposition in 2009 in which he said he had been asked that question once back in the days when the team played at the Sports Arena.
Platt: “Are you changing your testimony?”
Baylor: “I’m not changing my testimony. I was telling the truth at that time.”
Baylor added that he remembered now that he had been asked the question more than once. Platt asked him if he ever complained about the alleged harassment to anyone at the Clippers, the NBA or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
“Who would I complain to? If I complained to Donald Sterling, I would no longer be working,” Baylor said.
As for reporting the comments to the NBA or any government agency, Baylor said, “At the time it was just annoying.”
Later, under redirect questioning, Baylor said that the “merely annoying” comments later became “stressful to me.”
“It went beyond annoying,” Baylor said.
At issue also was Baylor’s involvement with prominent agent Warren LeGarie, who also represents current Clippers executive Neil Olshey and former Clippers GM and coach Mike Dunleavy.
Baylor first said he never hired LeGarie. But LeGarie operates without written contracts and Baylor testified later that his wife, Elaine Baylor, reached out to the agent in 2006.
She spoke to LeGarie in Elgin Baylor’s presence about helping her husband with a new contract. Baylor said he told LeGarie he wanted to work much longer than two years, but LeGarie testified earlier in the trial that it was his understanding that Baylor in 2006 wanted to work two more years.
In the afternoon session, Elaine Baylor testified about two alleged incidents in which her husband’s age was made an issue, one coming at Staples Center in his final season with the team, and one on the team’s trip to Russia in 2006.
She said that Sterling made a passing comment at Staples Center about not feeling well and wondering how long he was going to keep doing the job, then asked the same of Baylor.
Said Platt, after the court session: “I was pleased to hear that the only evidence Mr. Baylor had of age discrimination was being asked on a few occasions how old he was going to be on his birthday.”
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