I was doing some case law research on the Illinois Statute of Frauds when I came upon an interesting case that caught my eye.
The plaintiff therein you may have heard of : one Michael Jeffrey Jordan. The case was basically Jordan’s allegation of civil extortion against a former female “associate”, and, yeah, it involves Jordan being a little bawdy with a woman not his wife, but, who cares? That’s all yawn material post-Le Tigre.
The thing that caught my “conspiratorial” eye, and a little bit of my ire, was an inconsequential fact recited by the court as it led up to the central claims Jordan was alleging against the woman. I say inconsequential, meaning “to the matter at hand”, but they shouldn’t be considered inconsequential to NBA fans. In this writer’s opinion, the facts provide a peek into the probably-still-existing world of uncouth “buddy-buddy” relationships between star players and the officials who are meant to stand watch over them.
Take a read of the following excerpt and ask yourself, as an NBA fan, if it disturbs you just a little:
In the spring of 1989, Knafel was performing in a band at a hotel in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Chicago Bulls were in town to play the Indiana Pacers. After her performance, Knafel was introduced to Jordan over the telephone by Eddie Rush, a National Basketball Association referee, who had approached Knafel at the hotel. Knafel declined an invitation from Jordan to meet him at the Indianapolis airport and continued to decline his invitations to meet during the spring and summer of 1989. Nevertheless, Jordan and Knafel continued long-distance telephone conversations during that time. — excerpted from the Court’s decision, Jordan v. Knafel, Case No 02 CH 19143
The court leaves out the events leading up to Referee Rush’s ungentlemanly “approach” to Ms. Knafel. But I really cannot think of a credible, logical scenario that does not offend me deeply as a basketball fan. From the transcript it appears that either: (a) Rush was hitting on Knafel and then threw in something like “Hey, I know Michael Jordan. Yeah, that Michael Jordan! Want to talk to him on the phone?”, or, more disturbingly; (b) Jordan approached Rush at the hotel and said something to the effect of “Hey Eddie, go down to the lobby and scope out that hot lead singer. Tell her ‘Michael wants to speak to her’, and then get me on the phone.”
Where is the impartial relationship that ought to exist? I could care less what two men do on their private time, unless the two men are an alleged arbiter of basketball games and a certain star who seemed to get a lot of phantom calls, and in that case if its something that I think might compromise the arbiter’s ability to discharge his duties in a fair manner… well that does disturb me.