Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Charlie Villanueva Stirs Up A Bunch of Shit, Writers Go Nuts

Charlie Villanueva goes to his Twitter account, and relates a bit of trash-talking Kevin Garnett did to him, which all parties agree, used the word "cancer".  Garnett claims he called Villanueva "cancerous" to his team and league; Villanueva says that Garnett said he looked like a "cancer patient."

Add a bunch of guys who don't play professional basketball who have to write about something every day, and boom!  Controversy!  Some of the points made by the sportswriters, and quick rebuttals, if you don't mind:

1.  Kevin Garnett has long been a bully to lesser players, and thus a jerk.  (Adrian Wojnarowski:  "For years, he’s gone after smaller, younger players. He never goes after tough guys. Never. For some reason, he reveled in going out of his way to abuse European players. So many young Euros grew up idolizing him, loved the range of his versatility at 7 feet, only to have images of him shattered with cheap shots and trash talk on the floor."

Rebuttal:  This is still the NBA, right?  This is the biggest professional basketball league in the world, right?  This isn't Charles Barkley elbowing Angolans in 1992.  Also, I don't know if this counts, but I for one remember KG going right after Brad Miller, time and time again, getting after him during the Wolves best play-off run.  It was awesome.  So, "never"?  Not so much.  Regardless of who KG chooses to "abuse", they are professionals, playing in the highest paid, biggest league of their sport.  It's not his job to be nice to the rookie Europeans.

2.  Charlie Villanueva doesn't have Cancer!  He has Alopecia, and KG was being insensitive to that.  (Adrian again.  Also, Kelly Dwyer.  Also, Mitch Lawrence).  Adrian:  "Villanueva has a condition called alopecia universalis, which results in hair loss. Villanueva always has taken the time to meet and talk with kids who share the condition, and has listened to their stories of getting teased with those kinds of cutting words. Garnett is too old for this, too smart."

Rebuttal:  Garnett didn't walk into a schoolroom, and mock the little kid with alopecia.  He didn't say anything awful into a microphone.  He talked some shit on the court, which no one would have ever known about if Villanueva hadn't Tweeted it.  I had no idea that the Yahoo! Sports Community was so against the mocking of alopecia.  I suppose if I search the archives of Wojnarowski and Dwyer and Lawrence and the others, I'll find they wrote very strong commentaries during Arrested Development's run about alopecia is not funny.

3.  Garnett personally offended every cancer patient in the world if he called Charlie Villanueva a cancer patient.  Wojnarowski owns this one:  "[Former NBA player Maurice] Lucas died this week. He was 58 and lost his life to bladder cancer. Apparently, Garnett honored that memory with the mocking of the Detroit Pistons’ bald forward, Charlie Villanueva on Tuesday night. Garnett’s always gone too far, but never like this. Never this cruel, this twisted."

Rebuttal:  Get the fuck out of town, Adrian.  Garnett during an NBA game, said something that even other guys on the court didn't hear, and you're saying he insulted every single person who has suffered from cancer, or every single person who knows someone who has suffered from cancer?  Or, to put it another way, EVERYBODY.

Villanueva has heard shit like that since he was 10 years old.  Was Garnett being mean when he said whatever he said?  Sure.  But to pretend, as Villanueva seems to have, that this was the first time he had heard a "cancer patient" comment, and he just had to speak out?  Bullshit.  C'mon, everyone.  That's obviously bullshit.  NBA players should start up a site that says, "I also mocked Villanueva in that manner, and he didn't Twitter about me."  No way is Garnett the first guy to broach that topic.

Garnett didn't go into a cancer ward and mock all the kids in there for looking funny.  He insulted a guy he was playing against, on the assumption that it would stay between them.  If I hear someone I know say something I don't like, I don't wait until I'm well away from that person and then post what they said on Facebook.  Things said in private (and like it or not, the basketball court in an NBA game, unless a microphone picks it up, is basically in private) should stay there.  Charlie didn't have to fight him on the court, but he could have reached out privately, and said, "Dude, that wasn't cool."  He didn't.  And he took on the mantle of "Protector of People with Cancer" who would have been offended by KG's trash talk.  Thing is--they would have never known about it, had Charlie not blasted it through the Twitterverse.  Who hurt more people with their statement--KG saying something mean to Charlie Villanueva during a game, or Villanueva making those words available for public consumption?

4.  The weird world of cancer-related sports terminology--it's OK to call someone "a cancer" but not "a cancer patient".  This is pretty common, throughout the discussions in the sports world.  In part, because of Garnett's defense--that he said, "You are cancerous to your team and our league" is regarded as a better thing to say.  We've become so accustomed to players being called "a cancer", that we don't think twice.  Why is being the disease better than being the victim?  Who knows, but apparently one is short-hand for "a guy you don't want in your locker room" and the other is so "cruel" and "twisted" that it should make us rethink an obvious Hall of Famer's legacy.  That's odd--ESPN'S J.A. Adande thinks so, too.

Who do you think has visited kids with cancer more recently?  Kevin Garnett, or all these dumbass sportswriters piling on him because of a couple of tweets?


Andrew Wice said...

I concur with your excoriation. Nothing like a little grandstanding from the self-righteous sportsjacks to make me grind my remaining molars.

"You mean we're meeting with a man who can't even grow his own hair? Come on!"

Big Blue Monkey 2: The Quickening said...

And I agree with your excellent GOB quote.