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Monday, February 27, 2006

Variety of Dumb Comments in Philly Lately

Was it just me, or were the last five days filled with one idiotic comment after the other? Ed Snider, chairman of the 76ers, kicked things off Wednesday night. In an interview on 610 WIP he took offense to the suggestion of Glen Macnow that the Sixers would draw better if they were seen as title contenders. As quoted in Friday’s Inquirer, he said:

“What you're saying to me is that if fans are not going to come out unless we win a championship, then we've got a real problem," Snider said. "Maybe we should move the franchise to a city that would really enjoy basketball."

I don’t necessarily disagree with Snider’s sentiment. But . . . are ya kiddin’ Ed? How dumb was that to say out loud?

Then I read Saturday’s paper in which Bryant Gumbel was quoted by David Aldridge as saying the following about the Winter Olympics:

"So try not to laugh when someone says that these are the world's greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention. Try not to point out that something's not really a sport if a pseudo-athlete waits in what's called a 'kiss and cry' area while some panel of subjective judges decides who won... . So, if only to hasten the arrival of the day they're done, when we can move on to March Madness - for God's sake, let the Games begin."

I just have one question: if a white reporter had said something similar about, say, track or the NBA having a paucity of whites, which would be equally inaccurate and dumb, how fast would he have been fired?

On the same day, Don McKee offered this about Allen Iverson: “Only one guy has ever filled the building on a consistent basis. And last week he was almost traded to Denver for a national park pass autographed by Al Gore.” In fairness, others have suggested Iverson was “almost traded.” Yet, the “almost” part is based on Peter Vescey’s report that a source claimed Comcast squashed a deal between Denver and Philadelphia. They skip the part where the offer from Denver was a joke and, according to folks that allow their names to be used, soundly rejected.

Finally, there was Stephen A. Smith’s rambling column on Sunday, which included:

Here's the dirty little secret talked about amongst African Americans in the sports world: While the numbers are proliferating, methodically erasing the need to make an issue out of the paucity of black coaches in the game, it hasn't changed the unwritten standard attached to their job description.

Most coaches are hired to win basketball games. Black coaches are hired to do so while keeping players under control.

If this were not true, you still wouldn't see many black coaches in this game.

Cheeks should know this better than anyone.

When Cheeks was fired by Portland on March 1, 2005, it wasn't just because the Blazers were 11 games below .500 for the first time since the 1975-76 season. Cheeks had accumulated a 162-139 (.538) record, fourth best in franchise history, so you better believe his shaky relationship with the likes of Darius Miles had as much to do with his firing as anything else. If Miles was spewing expletives in his direction, it wasn't going to be long before others followed.

Fast-forward to this season, take note of Webber's frustration and Iverson's resignation, and there's cause for alarm. For Cheeks more than anybody.

Webber's frustration with Iverson has been well chronicled, evidenced by his verbal assault on Cheeks weeks ago after a blowout loss to Washington.

But where has Cheeks been in all of this? Nobody knows. Which only serves to tarnish the perception of a ship run amok where this team is concerned.

Cheeks was brought here to be something Jim O'Brien wasn't: a winner with a personality.

The onus placed on Cheeks was not just to win basketball games and ingratiate himself with the Philadelphia community. It was, and still is, to keep the players happy, so we wouldn't hearing about how Billy King is entertaining the idea of accepting expiring contracts just to start anew.

Did I miss something? Reading this makes it sound like the Sixers have been embroiled in controversy all season. Sure they’ve struggled this season, but there hasn’t been any real locker-room-in-turmoil stories. I know Smith’s in New York these days, but someone should remind him we just survived T.O. destroying a season. He’ll need more than a report or two of locker room strife to stir up something in Philly.

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