Court says no malice in report of Sprewell injury

NEW YORK -- A state appeals court in Manhattan dismissed former basketball star Latrell Sprewell's libel suit against the New York Post over the newspaper's account of how he broke his finger nearly five years ago.

The 5-0 ruling by the state Supreme Court's Appellate Division reversed a lower court ruling that said Sprewell's case could proceed.

Sprewell, who was with the New York Knicks in 2002, sued the Post and reporter Marc Berman that year over articles published Oct. 4, 7 and 8. The articles suggested the 6-foot-5 guard/forward had broken his right little finger in a fight on his boat in a Milwaukee marina in September 2002.

Berman also wrote an article describing the injury and saying that Sprewell, now 36, did not tell the Knicks about it until he arrived at the team's practice facility on Sept. 30, and had not been candid about how the injury occurred.

Sprewell was banished from the team for 16 days and fined $250,000 over the episode.

"We are delighted with the court's decision to dismiss this case and that the judges explicitly cited the quality and thoroughness of Marc Berman's reporting," Post editor Col Allan said.(...)

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