Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Stan Van Gundy Doesn't Blame Dwight Howard. Why Does the Media?

I'd like to be done talking about Dwight Howard, but I couldn't let this under-reported gem slide. Ian Fitzsimmons with ESPN Radio tweeted this on Sunday after an interview with Stan Van Gundy:

Stan Van Gundy just told us he blames the front office not Dwight Howard for what happened w/ Magic & he believes DH is a perfect fit in LA. 

Multiple NBA writers (myself included) replied to Fitzsimmons requesting a direct link to audio of the interview, but no such link has been forthcoming. In the meantime, writers continue to repeat the standard line that "[Howard] got his coach, Stan Van Gundy, fired," as AJC columnist Jeff Schultz did on Friday.

My take on Friday before official announcement of the trade was an encouragement to readers to connect the dots regarding Van Gundy's decision to publicly trash Howard rather than focus on winning basketball games, the job the Magic paid Van Gundy millions of dollars to perform. Let me connect the dots for you:

Firstly, the statement that "Howard got Van Gundy fired" presupposes that the Magic organization granted undue influence to a player. Such influence should never exist. If it does exist, fault lies with the organization.

Secondly, consider how the information was conveyed to Van Gundy. If he was told, "Dwight wanted you fired and we considered it," it's a different conversation than if he was told, "Dwight wanted you fired but we let him know he has no influence."

If Van Gundy had the full backing of Orlando management, why would he publicly trash Howard, leading to his own dismissal and Howard's resumed trade demand? I just don't get the double standard in media coverage of Howard. Where is the outcry over the Magic organization poisoning its own well? Where is the outcry over Van Gundy's flip flopping, now that he no longer holds Howard responsible for the situation in Orlando?

And where are all the re-evaluations on the part of scores of writers who blamed the Orlando situation on Howard, now that Van Gundy says it wasn't his fault? Even if you doubt Van Gundy's sincerity, shouldn't you say something about the blatant careerism of a man who hopes to coach star NBA players in the future? It seems the Magic organization has fallen so low that a kick while they are down by Van Gundy doesn't elicit a comment.

If anybody sees a link to that interview, please let me know in the comments.


  1. Buddy: Try this http://espn.go.com/espnradio/losangeles/play?id=8268184&s=la

  2. I have always wondered how so many sports writers, including some ordinarily pretty savvy folks, could've bought in so completely to the narrative Van Gundy and his people manufactured (or at least tailored) with that April press conference, not to mention the various leaks to which he was "responding". Where did everyone think those leaks came from, if not Van Gundy's own camp?

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Bella said...
    Another example of lazy band wagon media type: 2 weeks before the press conference where he threw Howard and Magic "managment" under the bus, Van Gundy had another media session where he basically asked to be fired. He came out and said "if they want to fire me, they can fire me. I've got some money saved up, I'll find something else to do." No one in the media even questioned it. Imagine if Howard, or Lebron (heavens forbid) or any other high profile athlete came out and said "if they want to cut me, go ahead and cut me, I've got enough money saved up." They would be vilified for the rest of their careers. Van Gundy got a total pass. He's only back pedaling because he wants to coach again and he knows that star players don't want to play for him. For anyone that owns a company, Van Gundy could never be trusted in a managerial position.

  5. Bella I agree, but SVG will coach again.