Monday , Jul , 02 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Allen Iverson Feels Assault Lawsuit Attempt to Swindle Him

Allen Iverson had to provide ‘The Answer’ in court on Monday … The star guard is being sued for assault and had to testify about an incident at a Washington night club … Here’s the larger question: should athletes hang out at nightspots? … Click here for news and analysis …

ESPN reports on Iverson’s testimony at his trial:

Allen Iverson testified Monday that he didn’t see his bodyguard fight with club-goers and called the $20 million lawsuit against him an attempt to fleece a famous basketball player.

The Denver Nuggets star told a U.S. District Court jury he was in the Eyebar nightclub in Washington for about 20 minutes on July 20, 2005, when he saw people running and other signs of a disturbance. His bodyguard, Jason Kane, grabbed him and he left immediately, getting into his Bentley coupe parked outside.

"I think I’m here because I worked all my life to get to where I’m at and they want to get rich overnight," said Iverson, who starred at Georgetown and with the Philadelphia 76ers before joining the Nuggets in December 2006.

The two plaintiffs, Marlin Godfrey and David Anthony Kittrell, say Iverson stood by as his entourage beat them and at one point even joined in by hitting someone with a bottle. They accuse Iverson and Kane of assault, infliction of emotional distress, negligence and conspiracy. Like Iverson, Kane says he was not involved in the fight.

Questioning Iverson Monday, plaintiffs’ lawyer Gregory L. Lattimer stood over Godfrey and listed his injuries, including "having his head busted open," damage to his eyes and the need for two years of psychological counseling.

"He went through all that because he knew one day he was going to sue you?" Lattimer asked Iverson, to which Iverson answered no.

My Quick Take:  I haven’t been following this story closely. Still, two things jump out at me.

First, has deep pockets. He could have settled the case out of court if he felt his bodyguards used excessive force. The situation would then disappear. However, Iverson feels the plaintiffs are trying to take advantage of his star status, so he’s fighting the lawsuit. Say what you want about Iverson,  but you have to respect him for doing what he feels is right.

Second, it’s important to look at the larger issue-athletes and celebrities are vulnerable when hanging out at nightspots. I don’t believe they should hermit at home or stay in their hotel rooms when on the road. But Jim Rome, the broadcaster, put it best: "nothing good happens at nightspots."

Consider the tabloid nature of Iverson’s trial. The plaintiffs wanted to call 50 cent as a witness. Apparently, the rapper had used the same security company involved in the lawsuit and would be able to offer some sort of expert insight.

The judge excused 50 cent from testifying. I think the plaintiffs were trying to make headlines, so they could pressure Iverson into a settlement.

I’m not blaming Iverson in any way,  but this lawsuit shows that athletes and nightclubs are a bad combination. Some people will always try to to exploit stars. I’m interested to see how the case develops.

I’m interested in your opinion. Are athletes targeted when out on the town? Or are they responsible for the problems at nightspots? Get at me in the comment box below! Click here to read and subscribe to Oly Sandor’s NBA Blog.