Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Updated: December 9, 6:01 PM ET
Mavericks' Thomas suspect in brawl
By Jeff Caplan
Dallas Mavericks forward Tim Thomas is a suspect in an assault that occurred at a Denny's restaurant around 3 a.m. Wednesday, about four hours after the team's victory over the Phoenix Suns, according to Dallas police.
"He was there. His friend was involved," Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said via email. "We are being told that he was not a participant beyond having some dumbass friends."
According to a Dallas Police Department report, Thomas, another man and three women left the restaurant before police arrived. Dallas Police Department spokesman Sgt. Warren Mitchell said investigators are looking into the case.
Colleen Kissick, a witness to the melee along with her mother Moya Kissick (who was struck on the left side three times, at least once by a flying chair, according to Colleen Kissick), said they do not plan to file charges.
The Mavericks said Thomas was unavailable for comment. Thomas participated in practice late Wednesday morning, but did not talk to the media. Thomas also canceled a public appearance scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said Thomas was not involved in any violent acts and that published accounts of the fracas have been "way, way overblown."
"He's 30 years old [actually 32] with a wife and kids," Nelson said of Thomas. "When the situation started to escalate, he left the property immediately. Certainly we're working with authorities and our security folks to get to the bottom of it. But this is something that's way, way, way overblown."
The police report says that a restaurant patron, Damien Pettie, 29, recognized Thomas and told police that he stated, "Hey, what's up?" Thomas, according to the report, responded with a string of curse words and racial and anti-gay epithets. Pettie, the police report says, responded with profanity.
According to the police report, after the verbal altercation, the man with Thomas struck Pettie twice in the face with his fist, splitting Pettie's lip.
Another witness was KRLD-AM sports anchor Roger Emrick, who was eating at the restaurant when both parties entered. Emrick said on the air Wednesday that he made small talk with Thomas prior to the other party arriving at the restaurant.
Emrick said that something then instigated a confrontation between the man and Pettie, while Thomas remained seated in a booth in the back of the restaurant. Emrick said the fight spilled onto his table, at which point he got up to leave the restaurant. He said Thomas was next to him also attempting to leave.
The brawl spilled onto the table where Moya Kissick and Colleen Kissick were ending a night of celebrating Moya's 65th birthday. Colleen then called 911. She said once blood spilled from Pettie's lip and hand, Thomas and the others fled the restaurant.
She said her mother was hit three times in the left side and at least once by a flying chair. Colleen Kissick said her mother's left arm is sore, but that she is OK, other than being emotionally shaken.
"The gentlemen [Thomas] was with, or whoever he was with, there was a big group of people sitting in the back [of the restaurant], maybe eight people all in the same general area, the guy who was the main guy fighting, the two guys fighting were on top of our table fighting," Colleen Kissick said. "Tables were being flipped. I was more worried about my mom and me since the fight was literally on our table."
She said the man involved in the fight and a woman got into a Mercedes, while Thomas and the others piled into a SUV.
Colleen Kissick said she followed them out to write down the license plate numbers. She said the woman in the Mercedes threatened her and told her not turn in the license plate to the police.
"The girl in the Mercedes was screaming at me, 'I'm going to kill you,' threatening my life," Colleen Kissick said. "The guy pulled out a digital camera and started taking my picture."
Colleen Kissick said Pettie told her that he is a gay man and that he became upset when Thomas allegedly responded to his greeting with gay slurs. She said she heard anti-gay remarks made.
Colleen Kissick called herself a "huge" Mavericks fan and said she had attended a game last week against the Philadelphia 76ers. She said she has not attempted to contact Cuban or the Mavericks organization. She said she's irate that her mother was put in harm's way, in part, by a professional athlete.
"If Tim Thomas did nothing physical, you're hanging out with riff-raff like that and you're a Dallas Maverick?" Colleen Kissick said. "You are supposed to be a role model, kids look up to you. My mom always said you are judged by the company you keep."
She said Thomas should have waited for police to arrive at the scene.
"You as Tim Thomas should have said [to the police], I'm Tim Thomas, I apologize for my friends, I had nothing to do with this," Colleen Kissick said. "If that was the case, I'd be coming to his defense."