A crowd seemingly aware of the bleak present and future showed up in Brooklyn Wednesday night. Large patches of empty rows could be seen throughout the lower bowl, and even in the mostly filled upper levels, the crowd energy veered far closer to golf than Garden. No one in the starting lineup was cheered sufficiently to stand out as the most popular Net.
Nets shops around the stadium's lower bowl that once proudly hawked "Williams 8" jerseys and shirseys now stood absent any player, the omnipresent white, black and gray with the logo standing in while the team figures out what that means next. The crowd, too, had largely dispensed with Williams, or Johnson, or virtually any other Net in any kind of bulk. The most popular jersey I saw Wednesday night was Derrick Rose's 1, in the red and black colors of the road team.
The branding effort, of the Nets as champions, as the top destination in New York sports, has been scaled back dramatically. The stand that once sold sushi now sells beer. The bars around the arena where fans gathered played the Mets World Series game. Very little seemed to matter less than the outcome of the Nets game. Fans ever-so-slowly filtered back to their seats after a half in which the Nets played competitively against the Bulls, who themselves had just beaten LeBron James' Cavs.
While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.
Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”
Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”
There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…