Thabo Sefolosha is planning on filing a civil lawsuit against New York City, its police department and the officers involved for injuries he suffered outside of a nightclub back in April. Sefolosha broke his leg, and suffered severe ligament damage in his ankle, forcing him to miss the rest of the regular season, as well as the Atlanta Hawks' postseason run in one of the greatest seasons in franchise history.
While it wasn't certain whether or not Sefolosha would, in fact, pursue the case after he was acquitted of all charges, the veteran swingman, after clearing his name, will pursue his case against the city and the police department, as he should. I mean, it only took the jury 45 minutes to deliberate before coming back with a verdict, clearing his name.
Sefolosha will be entering his 10th season in the NBA, his second with the Atlanta Hawks. He was a key part of a Hawks team last year that won 60 games, but was never quite the same team after Sefolosha's injury. He was a key defensive stopper for the Hawks, who helped create easier baskets for his teammates.
Thabo Sefolosha is a good NBA player, but he's no superstar. He turned 31 years old in May, which is pretty close to old in the sports world. A player of his talent needs to maintain health as much as he is able to, because let's face it, he is much more replaceable than your star player.
Sefolosha not only broke his leg, which could have threatened his career, he missed extremely valuable time, some of the most valuable time in Hawks franchise history. All because he was trying to give a panhandler $20.
The Manhattan district attorney's office attempted to get Sefolosha to take a plea deal, which would lead people to infer that he had wrongdoing in the whole situation, per the New York Times:
Mr. Sefolosha had refused an offer from the Manhattan district attorney's office that would have let him avoid a criminal record and jail time in return for a day of community service. Instead he chose, in effect, to put the police who had taken him to the ground on trial for wrongful arrest.
There was no reason for Sefolosha to have to take a plea deal when he did nothing wrong. Sefolosha did not have to be arrested, he did not have to be taken down, he didn't have to have his leg broken.
It's a victory that he walked out of that trial clearing his name, sure. But none of it had to happen, and he lost extremely valuable time to not only the Hawks, but his career, all because he was being profiled.
And for whatever reason, this story isn't nearly as big as it should be. Perhaps it's because Thabo Sefolosha's name isn't big enough for those outside of the NBA realm, or because outside of the broken leg, the injury he suffered wasn't enough of a visual as to the violence he faced at the hands of the officers that night, or maybe because he lived.
Those things shouldn't change the fact that what happened to Thabo Sefolosha was absolutely wrong, and he should go after the suit. He's not only fighting for himself, but for those that have come before him as well, and he knows that.