Leading Off

Woman wins lawsuit versus Thomas, MSG

A jury ordered the owners of the New York Knicks to pay $11.6 million to a former team executive who endured crude insults and unwanted advances from coach Isiah Thomas. The jury of four women and three men found Thomas and Madison Square Garden sexually harassed Anucha Browne Sanders, but it decided only MSG and chairman James Dolan should pay for harassing and firing Browne Sanders from her $260,000-per-year job out of spite. "What I did here, I did for every working woman in America," Browne Sanders said outside the Manhattan court. "And that includes everyone who gets up and goes to work in the morning, everyone working in a corporate environment." Said Thomas: "I will appeal this, and I remain confident in the man that I am and what I stand for and the family that I have." MSG also said it will appeal.

NFL launches steroid education program

In an attempt to stem the use of steroids among high school athletes, the NFL launched a $1.2 million education program. Working through eight NFL teams, including the 49ers, the program is expected to reach 20,000 students in 40 high schools this school year. "This program is going to show them that there are positive ways to win," said Redskins safety Pierson Prioleau, who answered questions from students during the official launch at the team's stadium. The effort is actually two programs: ATLAS for boys and ATHENA for girls. In addition to steroids, ATLAS focuses on alcohol, supplements and illegal drugs, while ATHENA has an emphasis on eating disorders and body-shaping drug use. "A young woman's use (of substances) is often related to diet, losing weight. Also it's related to depression," said Dr. Linn Goldberg, co-creator of the programs. "Boys don't have that. Theirs are more risk-taking, sensation-seeking."

Cougars soccer star sidelined for season

California Cougars forward Vicente Figueroa will miss the entire indoor soccer season after suffering a torn ligament in his right knee. The former member of the Modesto-based California Gold will rehab the anterior cruciate ligament for six to eight months. Figueroa finished last season with 60 points, second on the team. The Stockton-based Cougars open their Major Indoor Soccer League season Oct. 27 at Chicago.

Thunder partners with radio station

The Stockton Thunder of the ECHL have partnered with KSTN (1420 AM) radio to broadcast the minor league hockey team's regular season games this season. Mike Benton returns for his third season as play-by-play announcer. The Thunder, an affiliate of the NHL's Edmonton Oilers, opens its season Oct. 19 at Bakersfield.