It’s as if we’re forced to admire or respect the outspoken views of Etan Thomas just because, well, they are outspoken. The mere fact that he’s a rare beacon of political activism amongst professional athletes somehow lends more credibility to his point of view.
Kind of ironic when you think about it. Because he plays in a capitalism-fueled league that he’s at times criticized, Thomas’ soap box (via the Huffington Post, et al.) has been amplified more than your average Joe (except if “The Plumber” follows ‘Joe’ I suppose). When you consider the privileges athletes receive because of their status in society, no one ever thinks about such perks including a higher platform for activism. But as Thomas points out in his blogging debut on HoopsHype, there are plenty of NBA players who have been politically (or more accurately, socially) conscious. It’s just that not all of them opine on a regular basis like Thomas.
A vocal Etan Thomas isn’t a bad thing. He’s done an admirable job in his attempt to push ‘need to be discussed’ topics to the forefront. But I won’t always pay attention to or agree with all of Thomas’ utterances. As I alluded to, the fact that he’s an athlete doesn’t lend him any sort of credibility in my mind. Then again, Thomas is no more or less credible than the oodles of political pundits out there on CNN, Fox News, and the what-not … the types John Stewart so often rips down with reason and comedy on the Daily Show (Which is, by the way, my ‘source’ for news … just kidding, kinda. Would you blame me if, at times, I’d rather digest current events with heavy doses satire via a self-proclaimed “fake news”?)
Ok, I’m digressing and speaking in generalities. This post is not meant to be of a political nature. Rather, how Etan Thomas’ recent blog entry of “questions” applies to the Wizards.
#1 – Etan Calls Out Reporters (again)
Would it be possible for the NBA to instill a rule for which reporters covering the league would be fined if they misreport, contort facts or simply write blatant lies? Are the fans not deserving of accurate, factual reporting, instead of articles laced with anonymous sources, embellishments and overall inaccuracies?
This is nothing new. Etan’s back-and-forth with former Wizards beat writer Ivan Carter (currently host of Washington Post Live on Comcast) over the coverage of Thomas’ heart condition has been well documented.
I mean, we all have to assume Etan is beating that dead horse of an issue again. The previous ‘call out’ instance involved Etan mentioning the situation in rhyme. Now he’s writing about it, again. He seems to be on a never ending crusade on a matter which is more “he said, he said” than misconstrued facts.
I’m not exactly sure how such a fine system would work since reporters don’t work for the NBA. The most they could really do is revoke credentials. If Etan really feels the facts around his case were misreported, why wouldn’t he just file a defamation/vilification lawsuit? (If, in fact, he’s talking about his own case. He could be coming to the rescue of someone else, but he really wouldn’t have the grounds to speak out in that regard … seeing how he wouldn’t be directly involved.)
But I suppose I should be somewhat conscious of these issues myself since I’m now covering the Wizards under media credentials. Although … I really don’t consider myself a “reporter” and have yet to gather a bevy of people that I can use as unnamed sources (not sure if I ever will). Still, an awareness is, and should be, duly noted.
#2 – Etan Calls Out The Washington Wizards’ Medical Staff
While on the subject of team trainers and doctors, is it possible to impose a fine or forced firing when a team trainer or doctor consistently misdiagnoses numerous players? Not to call out any names but certain teams (not here with the Oklahoma City Thunder) employ trainers and doctors who regularly make medical mishaps (if that’s a politically correct way of saying it).
One must wonder if the reason Etan is so passionately calling out medical staffs is because he has direct experience. Again, he certainly wouldn’t speculate about another team or another player without firsthand knowledge from both sides, would he? Seems like that would be pretty hypocritical. Kind of like a reporter relaying speculation from an anonymous source.
Ok, so Etan doesn’t name the Wizards … but he might as well. Thomas has “officially” been with four NBA teams, but never saw the court for the team that drafted him (Dallas) or the team to which he was traded from D.C. (Minnesota). And since he makes a point to eliminate the Thunder … Exactly.
If Thomas wants the call out the Washington Wizards medial staff, he can. But what’s the point of being an out-spoken activist if you selectively do so only when it’s convenient? He’s not going to advance his stance/question with nameless accusations.
Thomas is adamant in his opinion about how things should “go down” in the world, but when it comes to following through, this time he’s falling short. Being a cryptic critic with rhetorical questions ends up being rather pointless.
So, for the record, the medical staff of the Wizards has been called out by one current player and one former player in the span of less than two months.
What’s a team currently dealing with two shoulder injuries (Antawn Jamison and Mike Miller), one of which was possibly made worse when one player returned in the same game after initially injuring his shoulder, a broken finger (Mike James), and a guy who’s been in a walking boot four times since originally injuring his foot in July (Javaris Crittenton) to do?