Longtime Boston Celtics center Robert Parish, now with the Charlotte Hornets, battered his former wife, Nancy Saad, throughout their marriage, according to this week’s Sports Illustrated.
In a story on spousal abuse sparked by charges filed in Houston against NFL quarterback Warren Moon, the magazine said Parish’s beatings of Saad culminated on June 2, 1987, in a Los Angeles hotel hours before the Celtics were to open the NBA Finals.
Saad told SI she went to talk to Parish about their 5-year-old son, Justin, whom he had not seen for some time and who had suffered minor injuries in a bicycle accident, as well as child support payments.
She said when she knocked on her estranged husband’s door, he first closed it on her. When she knocked again, she said Parish grabbed her by the throat and threw her into the hallway. Saad told SI she remembers being punched and thrown into a wall and then kicked.
The next day, Saad said, she was admitted to a Santa Monica hospital, where she stayed for seven days. Records show she was diagnosed with a “closed head injury,” impaired vision in her right eye, abrasions around her left eye and over her right cheek, a large bruise on her right arm, and soreness and spasms in her neck. A medical evaluation written three years later said the battering led to chronic headaches and convulsions.
Saad told the magazine Parish began abusing her both psychologically and physically shortly after their relationship began in 1980. She said he pushed her down a flight of stairs in 1981 when she was eight months’ pregnant. A year later, he kicked her out of their car when she criticized his driving.
Saad, who said she was beaten as a child by her father, divorced Parish in 1990 and said it was not until last year that she viewed herself as a battered wife.
“I didn’t begin to understand this until I saw Robert as a victim,” she said. “This was something he learned from somebody before him. He never got help.”
Parish declined to comment on the report or allegations by Saad.
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