Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NBA [Print without images]

Friday, January 20, 2006
Updated: January 21, 7:57 AM ET
Fan wants apology; Davis, wife say no way

Associated Press

CHICAGO -- The fan accused of harassing the wife of New York Knicks forward Antonio Davis will drop threats of a lawsuit if the couple says it's sorry, the man's attorney said Friday.

No way, Davis said.

"I'm not apologizing to anybody for anything," Davis said on a conference call. "I don't think that my wife did anything wrong, I don't think that I did anything wrong."

Kendra Davis said in an interview with WSCR-AM in Chicago on Friday, "I was just trying to tell the guy to chill out."

Antonio Davis was suspended five games by the NBA on Thursday, a day after he went into the stands during a game at the United Center in Chicago to confront 22-year-old Michael Axelrod.

Attorney Jay Paul Deratany planned to send a letter to the couple on Friday, also asking Davis to make a donation to a charity that tries to prevent violence against women and children. Deratany e-mailed a copy of the letter to The Associated Press.

"Why would I donate some money in his behalf?" said Davis, already active with various community charities.

Kendra Davis said, "I'll apologize to Michael Axelrod when he apologizes to my son and to me. We can apologize to each other, but there's no way on earth I would apologize."

Deratany said he was disappointed with the Davises' comments and that Axelrod was still considering legal action.

"In terms of Mr. Davis' statement, that's just unfortunate because we gave him the perfect opportunity to act like a gentleman and he didn't take the opportunity," Deratany said. "As far as Mrs. Davis, she made outrageous comments, further slandering Mike."

Antonio Davis' statement after the game said the man he thought was threatening his wife, Kendra, was drunk. Axelrod said all he had was a glass of wine at dinner, and that he did nothing wrong.

Axelrod is asking Davis -- president of the NBA players' association -- to take back his comments. Deratany said several witnesses and videotapes of the event back up his client's claims.

Deratany had said he would give the Davises about a week to respond.

"Both of us respect the game and the point was to send a message not to harass fans -- either physically or by later comments that disparage their character," Deratany said. "If that's accomplished, then it's time to move on. It's never been about money."

On Thursday, Deratany said he planned to sue Davis and his wife for more than $1 million, alleging battery by Kendra Davis and slander by her husband.

On Friday, Deratany said the $1 million figure was inflated, but declined to say how much his client would seek.

Antonio Davis questioned the need for the lawsuit, pointing out that he never mentioned any fan by name. He said the incident started because the fan sitting behind his wife was using offensive language around their son, and she asked him to stop.

"If he brings a lawsuit against me I have to defend myself, but I just don't understand what he's going to say," Davis said. "I never mentioned his name. I just said one of the gentlemen. So I just don't understand what the lawsuit is all about."

Davis said he briefly considered legal action against the fan that was grabbing his wife, but decided against it.

"I felt like, bottom line is I really just want all of this to go away," he said. "It was an unfortunate situation, I got penalized for it."

Axelrod's father, David, is a prominent Democratic political consultant in Chicago who has worked with Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Michael Axelrod said Kendra Davis placed her hands on his face, and he motioned for security. But Kendra Davis said Axelrod wasn't threatened.

"I never said that Michael Axelrod touched me, so why he came up with this whole story about me scratching him…" she said in the radio interview.

Asked if she felt threatened, she responded, "The second guy, absolutely I did."

"When I was talking to Axelrod, he called me a condescending name, followed by an explicit word," Kendra Davis said. "I said, 'How dare you talk to me like that.'"

Kendra Davis said she "probably should have" called for security, but, "I think I taught my kids that you stand up for yourself."