July 21, 1982
M.L. Carr until yesterday morning thought that Wayne (Tree) Rollins' highly publicized accusations against him last April eventually would be forgotten. But the Celtics swingman guessed wrong.
Carr admitted he was stunned when he learned that Rollins had made good on his threat to take legal action against him and the Celtics. Rollins two days ago filed a $4 million lawsuit in Atlanta against Carr and the Celtics, alleging among his claims that Carr threatened him with a knife or razor in the Boston Garden following a Jan. 13, 1982 game between the Celtics and Hawks.
Rollins also claims in his suit that he has "been both physically and verbally abused by Carr during the course of the approximate 40 games they have played against each other."
"I thought it had blown over when statements were made in April, and the league totally exonerated me," said Carr. "It's ludicrous that this would happen to me. It's untrue and I stand by what I've said before. It's the first time I've ever been sued, and it sure puts a damper on things."
Carr was alluding to the NBA which conducted its own investigation into charges made by Rollins against Carr. The complaint against Carr was dismissed by the league after it was determined that there was a lack of proof that Carr possessed or used a weapon during a verbal confrontation with Rollins near the players' wives' room after the game.
Carr said he was placing his legal problems with Rollins in the lap of his Boston agent, Phil McLaughlin. McLaughlin was unavailable for comment.
Jan Volk, the Celtics vice-president and general counsel, said he shared Carr's amazement over the unexpected turn of events brought on by Rollins.
"I'm still trying to digest the lawsuit," said Volk. "I don't know what we've got yet. I'm quite surpised. I thought it had run its course. It's totally unjustified. I think Red said it all."
Volk was referring to Celtics general manager Red Auerbach, who when reached at his Washington, D.C., residence, said, "I can't believe it. It's really a joke. They're worried about timing when they're suing for $4 million. It's one of the most ludicrous things that's ever happened in sports."
Volk said it still remains to be seen which law firm or team of lawyers will represent the Celtics. But Volk does feel that holding the trial in Boston instead of Atlanta "would certainly be a matter of convenience."
Meanwhile, Carr said he will continue spending "a lot of time" this summer with his family, and visiting in-laws. He's also making the rounds of summer basketball camps as an instructor with former Celtics teammate Dave Cowens.