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Fan Sues Trail Blazers’ Rider

April 2, 1999

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Portland guard Isaiah Rider, suspended for the third time this season after climbing into the stands during a loss to Golden State, is being sued by a fan who claims Rider spit on him in 1997.

Zajuan Nenrod has filed suit against the Blazers and Rider, saying Rider spit on him without provocation during the halftime warmup of the Blazers’ Nov. 20, 1997 game against the Detroit Pistons in Auburn Hills, Mich.

The suit, filed last week in Oakland County Circuit Court, seeks $25,000 for mental distress and humiliation plus court and lawyer fees.

Neither the Blazers nor the National Basketball Players Association have denied Rider spit on the fan. The NBA suspended Rider for three games for the incident.

At the time, Billy Hunter, executive director of the players association, said Rider was provoked by a ``visibly drunken fan who physically and verbally threatened J.R. and his family.″

It was not the only transgression for Rider.

He sat out Wednesday’s 100-86 victory over Sacramento at the Rose Garden _ his third suspension this season and second in 12 days.

He was suspended for going into the stands with two minutes left in Tuesday night’s loss at Golden State. Rider went about 10 rows up at The New Arena, where his brother was involved in an argument that brought security to the area.

It was also learned Wednesday that Rider has received his second multiple-violation traffic stop in five weeks.

Rider received a traffic citation on March 19 for driving without a license, driving without insurance and ``speed racing″ in Portland.

It was the third time in two years that Rider was cited for driving without a license and state records confirmed that Rider does not have an Oregon driver’s license.

It was not clear whether Rider has a license to drive in California, where he lives much of the year.

Blazers president Bob Whitsitt declined to comment on the traffic violation and lawsuit saying he was ``not aware of either of those things.″

Update hourly