For Isiah Thomas,the NBA's season was supposed to be a good thing. It came on the heels of an excruciating offseason filled with testimony about embarrassing things he'd said and done that were brought to light during a sexual harassment suit.

But once the season started, the New York Knicks coach/general manager could concentrate on what happens on the basketball court rather than the court of law.

Basketball, however, hasn't been much of a tonic for Thomas and the Knicks.

Fans at Madison Square Garden are booing the team and chanting "Fire Isiah" thanks to a 3-9 start, including an eight-game losing streak.

The New York media have come down on Thomas hard, too. The New York Post, in fact, had a picture of Thomas' head on a cooked turkey on its Thanksgiving Day cover — not the sports cover, but the cover of the entire paper. The headline of the opinion piece read, "Stick a fork in Isiah ... He's done."

New York, losers of eight straight games before beating struggling Chicago on Saturday, had its desire questioned by an opponent earlier this week.

"(The Knicks) looked like they didn't want to compete," said Pistons guard Flip Murray after Detroit beat them on Wednesday. "They were just out there. All you had to do was look at their body language. I don't know what's going on over there, but they've got a lot of issues."

Thomas, however, said Friday that he fully expects to be around for the long haul.

"I don't foresee there being any changes this year," Thomas told Newsday and other New York media on Friday. "I just don't think this is the time to panic after 11 games in the season. This is not the time to just blow everything up and say the guys that we've got here and the changes and the moves that we've made after 11 games, you judge them. That's not the way this league goes."

Thomas has a point about it being early in the season. Certainly the Knicks could rebound from their poor start and have a successful season. They will be gunning for a modest two-game winning streak when they host the Jazz on Monday night.

But the fact of the matter is that a change should be made by the Knicks.

Thomas should be let go.

And not because his team opened the year 2-9.

And not because, as the team's general manager, he assembled his current group of over-paid underachievers.

Thomas should have been fired before the season even started because of his major role in the court case that showed the Knicks' "Animal House"-like atmosphere and hostile working environment for some female employees.

Knicks fans should have been chanting "Fire Isiah" on the steps of the courthouse — and not waiting until the team played poorly to do so.

There is a reason a federal jury concluded that the Knicks and its chairman must pay $11.6 million in damages to the former Knicks executive who filed the sexual harassment suit. It was proven in a court of law that Thomas and the Knicks had behaved poorly.

Frankly, it's a sad commentary that wins and losses mean more than treating people with respect. The fact is, if Thomas' Knicks were 9-2 right now, the sexual harassment court loss would be almost forgotten — or at least justified — by many New York fans at Madison Square Garden.


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