Shortly after news broke Friday that Isiah Thomas may have been rushed to the hospital after overdosing on sleeping pills, the former New York Knicks coach said it was not him, but rather his 17-year-old daughter, who was hospitalized.
Local authorities, meanwhile, are outraged that Thomas would make such a comment, and are referring to it as a “cover up.”
“It wasn’t his daughter,” Harrison Police Chief David Hall told The Associated Press. “And why they’re throwing her under the bus is beyond my ability to understand.”
As previously reported, authorities were called early Friday to Thomas’ Westchester County home, where police said a 47-year-old man was taken to the hospital and treated for an overdose of sleeping pills. Several media outlets reported that police confirmed it was Thomas who went to the hospital.
But reached on his cell phone Friday, the 47-year-old NBA veteran told the New York Post he had not been treated for a sleeping pill overdose, and that it was his daughter Lauren who had a medical issue.
It “wasn’t an overdose,” he told the newspaper. “My daughter is very down right now. None of us are OK.”
Hall forcefully refuted Thomas’ statement.
“My cops … know the difference between a 47-year-old black male and a young black female,” Hall said. “These people should learn something from Richard Nixon — it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.”
Thomas’ 20-year-old son, Joshua, has come out in defense of his father’s initial statement about his sister having the overdose.
“Saying that someone is being thrown under the bus when you are talking about health issues is disrespectful,” the Indiana University student wrote in a text to the New York Daily News regarding Hall’s comments. “I love both my sister and dad and am glad that both are doing well. Thanks for all the support, but as a family we are fine and stronger than ever.”
No suicide note was found, and police were classifying the case as an “accidental drug overdose” on “a number” of prescription sleeping pills, Hall said, however, he stillwould not confirm the identity of the hospitalized man.
Thomas was fired as the Knicks’ coach April 18 after a dismal season, a scandalous sexual harassment lawsuit and unending chants from fans demanding his dismissal. Still, he was retained by the organization as an adviser and consultant.
“Isiah Thomas spoke with members of the New York Knicks organization and is OK,” the Knicks said in a statement. “He is dealing with a family matter, and we will have no further comment. He has asked that we respect his privacy, and we will.”