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Newz Forum: BASKETBALL: COLLEGE: Judge dismisses Richardson's lawsuit against Arkansas

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posted on Jul, 8 2004 @ 03:29 PM
Little Rock, AR (Sports Network) - A judge has dismissed former Arkansas basketball coach Nolan Richardson's racial discrimination lawsuit against the school.

U.S. District Judge William R. Wilson said there was not enough evidence of racial bias and said the case was "primarily about wounded pride."

Richardson was fired on March 1, 2002 after 17 seasons in Fayetteville, then filed suit later that year claiming the school's chancellor and athletic director discriminated against him and violated his free speech rights because he is black.

Late in a trying 2001-02 season, Richardson lashed out at the school's administration during a Sunday, February 24 news conference, saying, "If they go ahead and pay me my money, they can take the job tomorrow."

Richardson followed the next day by making racial comments and was fired within a week. However, he later realized he wanted to stay in Fayetteville and asked school president B. Alan Sugg to review chancellor John White's decision.

The university eventually bought out the final six years of Richardson's contract and agreed to pay him up to $3 million over the remainder of the seven-year deal.

Judge Wilson agreed with the university that the decision to fire Richardson came after the coach's initial comments, but also said the communication between the two sides could have been better.

"No one can say for sure, but I am inclined to believe the firing could have been avoided or postponed considerably if there had been more and better communication by his supervisors."

Richardson led the Razorbacks to the NCAA Tournament 13 times, winning the national championship in 1994 and taking Arkansas to the title game the following season. He guided the team into the post-season in 15 of his 17 seasons.

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