NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Hours after storming the court and
firing her coach, Nashville Rhythm co-owner Sally Anthony was
rushed to a hospital following a 911 call by a relative who said
she had tried to "hurt herself."
A relative called 911 about 6 a.m. Sunday to report that Anthony
was hurting herself, according to a 911 tape obtained by The
Associated Press on Tuesday.
"My sister-in-law is in her apartment right now, and she has
taken some pills and mixed it with alcohol and taken scissors and
cut up her arms," said the caller, who identified herself as
Hours earlier, Anthony marched onto the court in the third
quarter of the Rhythm's 110-109 victory over Kansas City and
demanded that coach Ashley McElhiney bench a player and then told
the coach she was fired. Security guards had to escort Anthony off
Anthony is one of three owners of Nashville's American
Basketball Association franchise, which made McElhiney the first
female coach of a men's professional team last May.
Anthony, an aspiring pop singer, and her husband and Rhythm
co-owner Tony Bucher, did not respond to e-mail and fax messages
seeking comment Tuesday.
The 911 caller told a dispatcher that Anthony had taken the
anti-depressant Xanax, and was passing out every few seconds. The
caller also told the dispatcher that her sister-in-law could become
The dispatcher asked the caller if the she thought it was a
The caller said, "I don't know if she really meant to kill
herself. She definitely meant to hurt herself."
The 30-year-old Anthony was taken by ambulance to Vanderbilt
University Medical Center, where she was treated for cuts on her
arm and released Sunday. She was quoted in different reports as
saying she fell and also that she was bitten by a dog.
The woman who called 911 did not immediately return a telephone
message from the AP on Tuesday. A woman who identified herself as
Anthony's mother told The Tennessean on Monday that it was "a
total lie" to suggest that her daughter mixed pills with alcohol
and tried to cut herself.
In the only official word from the team in the three days since
the bizarre episode, the Rhythm owners issued a statement Tuesday
apologizing to McElhiney.
"The ownership of the Nashville Rhythm would like to apologize
to Ashley McElhiney, our fans, Lipscomb University, the city of
Nashville, and our sponsors for the incident," the statement said.
The team said it was reviewing the incident and hoped to have a
decision "on a course of action as soon as possible."
McElhiney, who has led the Rhythm to an 18-7 record, declined to
comment to the AP Tuesday.
Her agent said in a statement that McElhiney has not yet reached an agreement with Rhythm management as to whether she will continue as the Rhythm's head coach for the remainder of the season.
The team's two-sentence release didn't fully satisfy ABA
co-founder and chairman Joe Newman, who on Tuesday named McElhiney
as an assistant coach for the league's All-Star game Feb. 14 in Las
Newman said the league won't step into a personnel issue, even
though he has been inundated with complaints. But he is ordering
the league and the team to donate basketballs to youth leagues in
the city of Nashville.
He said the Rhythm was an excellent ABA franchise that has been
embarrassed by one of its owners.
"She's gotten far more negative publicity for a person who's a
recording artist in Nashville than she should get in a lifetime.
She's gotten every bit that she deserved and more for the
outburst," Newman said.
Management met with Rhythm players Monday night to discuss the
situation, and the players were waiting for a final decision.
"We're confident things are going to be fine," center Adam