It looks like Isiah Thomas can't help but bring embarrassment and controversy to whoever is stupid enough to hire him:
A jury ruled today that Isiah Thomas, the coach of the New York Knicks, sexually harassed a former team executive and that Madison Square Garden, the owner of the team, improperly fired her for complaining about the unwanted advances.
The jury, in Federal District Court in Manhattan, also ruled that the former executive, Anucha Browne Sanders, is entitled to $11.6 million in punitive damages from the Garden and James L. Dolan, the chairman of Cablevision, the parent company of the Garden and the Knicks.
Of that figure, $6 million was awarded because of the hostile work environment Mr. Thomas was found to have created, and $5.6 million because Ms. Browne Sanders was fired for complaining about it. Mr. Dolan's share is $3 million; the Garden is liable for the rest.
This was a typical "he said, she said" sexual harassment case, with little real evidence to back up either side. People will choose whom they believe. Maybe more men will believe the man and more women the woman, and perhaps race will be a factor for some people. But there will not be total predicatbility of the reactions.
That's not so with Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill. The reaction is almost comically predictable:
To my mind, the most interesting aspect of this debate is the way in which nearly all conservatives seem to believe Thomas, while nearly all liberals believe Hill. The few exceptions are striking precisely because they are so unusual.
Since only Thomas and Hill themselves really know what happened with any certainty, this degree of polarization is striking. Nothing in conservative ideology precludes the possibility that individual conservatives might engage in boorish and morally reprehensible private behavior of the sort Thomas is accused of; similarly, liberal ideology does not deny the possibility that a person in Hill's position might lie for political gain. Given the murkiness of the underlying facts, unbiased observers would not split so sharply along ideological lines on this issue. You would expect to see at least some significant number of liberals who believe Thomas, some conservatives who believe Hill, and many in both camps who aren't sure who to believe.
[. . .]
However, most of the polarization over Thomas-Hill probably wasn't feigned. It was instead a consequence of the all-too-common assumption that our ideological adversaries are not only wrong but also evil - or at least far more likely to be so than those who agree with us. If you believe that liberals are, on average, likely to be morally corrupt, then it would be rational for you to assume that a liberal is more likely to be lying than a conservative and thus to automatically believe Thomas over Hill even in the absence of clear proof. And vice versa if you hold the reverse view.