Haters Hate, Trolls Troll: Remember, John Wall Is Just 20-Years Old
Midnight Madness had ended and the Wizards were funneling out the back of the Patriot Center. Al Thornton briefly chatted with family members on his way to the team chartered bus. JaVale McGee and Cartier Martin quietly filed by. Suddenly, a loud musical voice boomed from behind me and the lyrics were easy to make out, “Teach Me How To Dougie.” John Wall was singing the Cali District Swag hit at the top of his lungs while bobbing his head over and over to a beat in his head, since he was not wearing any head phones.
Hours earlier, as the Wizards were taking part in a drill, Wall barked to Kirk Hinrich, “Get em going out there, Kirk!” I was thoroughly impressed that a rookie in his first official NBA practice was not afraid to tell a veteran to get on their teammates. The Game Changer was no shrinking violet. (Kyle Weidie witnessed something similar in the Summer League with Wall getting after JaVale McGee)
Wall’s impromptu Dougie flow displayed his bubbly personality and youth. He is a freshly minted 20-years old, and I know that at his age, I was humming along to “Biggie, Biggie, Biggie, Can’t You See?”
These incidents provided an early glimpse into his persona. With the ball in his hands, during practice or during games, he is a team-oriented player with killer instinct. He wants to pound opponents at mach-one speed and hates to lose. HATES it. Off the court, he is a normal young man who likes to have fun by singing and dancing.
Those two personalities mesh with Wall’s celebratory enthusiasm and energetic, entertaining style, so I was not surprised when Wall decided to “Dougie Out” (Andray Blatche’s description) when introduced at his first home game.
Everyone loved it … Wizards’ fans, NBA fans, bloggers, media members, Wiz announcers, players, the boss man Ted Leonsis, Cali Swag District’s business interests, Charles Barkley, etc. It was a 2010 pop culture-meets-NBA smash moment, and now the dance is happening all over the sports world. Good-natured fun for everyone, win-win all around. Not only did Wall demonstrate some gold star Dougie capability, he barely missed a triple-double as his Wizards won a thrilling game in overtime over the Philadelphia 76ers.
The story lead seems pretty simple: number one pick has historic game, does a fun/popular dance and his team wins their first game. Well, this is where the haters now enter the picture, (specifically, one hater/Schrutebag) and do what they do. Because haters hate.
ESPN Radio and television host Colin Cowherd decided to get his ignorant on by basically predicting that Wall would never be a championship point guard, because he did the Dougie. Sigh. Cowherd’s tirade reminded me of an internet troll.
Here are two definitions of a troll via Urban Dictionary:
“A dumbass who makes idiotic posts in message boards newsgroups for the sole purpose of pissing people off, often lacking in intelligence.”
“A despicable person on a message board or comment section that deliberately tries to get everyone pissed off. Usually, they write in capital letters and make outrageous topics to get a rise out of everyone. ….. trolls should never be responded too, because they’ll just use insults or useless arguments, and you’ll never win by arguing with a troll. Don’t ever feed the trolls on a message board.”
Weidie and I recently discussed our desire to not feed the Cowherd troll. We ignore him, he wins. We refute his unintelligent drivel, we are on the defensive and thus talking about him, he wins again. Trolls want it to be about them and will say anything to make it so.
The problem with the scenario of not feeding the troll is that Cowherd is not your regular troll that anonymously puts hateful words on YouTube or in online comment sections.
Cowherd is a troll with a megaphone, a very big one, if not one of the largest in the media sports world. For many consumers, ESPN Radio is one of the few outlets for sports talk. Cowherd also co-hosts a weekly television show on ESPN, Sports Nation. This troll has a large audience and unfortunately, his words affect the perception people will have of John Wall the basketball player before they even lay eyes on his game. It’s bad enough that Tony Kornheiser already hates on everything Wizards and Arenas related.
Time to feed the Schrutebag … Cowherds words:
“Much like I called out Greg Oden, I’m gonna call out John Wall….Before the game started, he spent 34 seconds doing the Dougie. That tells me all I need to know about J-Wow. Then he opened his mouth later and confirmed it: not a sharp guy. All about him. In that line last night, that 29-point line, when he was out of control, he had 8 turnovers. By the way, Rajon Rondo had 17 assists last night, 0 turnovers. Rajon’s got rings, Wall will never have one.
Folks, when you rob a bank, it’s not just the act of it, it’s that you sat down for weeks and planned it. That tells me you’re an idiot. The act is just the final icing on the cake. The cake is you sat down for weeks and planned it.”
Glossing Wall a nickname reserved for the violent girl on the television show Jersey Shore is offensive enough (even though the WizzNutzz comically brought it up first), but to say Wall will never have a ring because of eight turnovers in his fourth pro game is asinine. And robbing a bank? Comparing NBA players to bank robbers? Classless.
John Wall is not a sharp guy? The kid finished with a 3.5 GPA during his spring semester at Kentucky. It was commendable that he even stayed enrolled in class since the fashionable thing for elite college basketball players is usually to drop out in order to train fully for the NBA draft.
Cowherd insulted Wall’s intelligence and compared his behavior to criminals. Sounds to me like Cowherd is just pissed that he can’t Dougie. More of his words:
“Oh, I’m gonna get a lot of callers — Colin, he’s just having fun. What he did last night, Rondo never would, Isiah never would, J. Kidd never would, Stockton never would, Nash never would, Magic never would. Point guard is like the quarterback. it’s an IQ-judgment position. The great ones are not about themselves. They’re about the others. Leadership is IQ, it’s not skills.”
The straw man arguments never end because it’s Cowherd’s definition of leadership that we are working back from. Rondo has a reputation of being a malcontent and his college career was very maligned (not to mention his absence from Team USA this summer). Kidd slapped his wife over a french fry. Earvin Johnson was so unflashy that he went by “Magic” and ran a team in Hollywood nicknamed”Show Time.” Maybe Magic would not have danced because he was too busy sleeping with 300-500 women a year. Isiah Thomas was such a great leader that he was blackballed from the Dream Team. John Stockton was known as one of the dirtiest players ever. By the way, Nash and Stockton never won any rings, but both are white, so there you go.
Wall won the ESPY for male basketball player of the year, but decided to stay with his team at the Las Vegas Summer League instead of attending the awards show in Los Angeles. Choosing to spend more time with new teammates over hanging with a bunch celebrities. Sounds like a crappy leader, right?
“It’s not robbing the bank, it’s that you planned it. It’s not just doing the Doggie (sic) for 35 seconds, it’s that you really thought before the game, this is gonna be super cool and people will like me. The wrong people.”
Cowherd’s problem is not the dance but that Wall “planned the dance.” Kind of like Shaq has done his whole career? Or Lebron doing his fake picture shows over the past few years in Cleveland. What about Dwight Howard? That guy is always clowning.
From the Soulja Boy Superman to the Cupid Shuffle … you name it, dances like the Dougie become popular. They come and go. Cowherd probably wanted Wall to do the ‘achey-breaky heart’ line dance.
More criminal comparisons from Cowherd, fantastic:
“My daughter’s 10. Ten years old. She knows the difference between right and wrong. My daughter knows what Randy Moss did is wrong. She’s 10. The haves get it early, the have-nots never do. Look at me, I’m great, I’m unbelievable.
You go look, we have a Hall of Fame point guard right now, his name is Rondo. Go look at his numbers….The best distributor in the league, and all we’ll pay attention to is John Wall. Rondo is your superstar point guard, but we will spend hours on John Wall. I’d take Rondo in a heartbeat….When I see Wall dropping 29, you know what Wall’s thinking tonight? Man, that dance was good, I might get 39 tonight. Great. Nine (sic) turnovers and 29 points. Welcome to the back of the class, get behind the Celtics, the Lakers and the Heat.”
Perfect time to bring your daughter into it. Why not?
Wall is a have-not and only cares more about scoring points than winning. Cowherd’s proof? Rondo is a Hall of Famer that did not turn the ball over in one game and Wall does pre-game dances before having eight turnovers.
The reason people have been talking about Wall is that he was the number one pick in the NBA draft! This is one of the essential functions of sports media in chatting about new players, top picks and promising rookies. This happens every single year and is pretty much the job description of sports pundits like Cowherd. The fact that John Wall is a 6’4″ point guard, with 39-inch vertical, and faster with the ball than most in the NBA are without it, maybe means he is kind of a big deal too. Wall is putting up stats that are comparing him to Oscar Robertson, but he likes to Dougie so I guess he is a loser?
Wall had nine turnovers in a Wizards loss versus the Knicks. The next home game, Wall did not Dougie and his team lost to Cavaliers. Colin’s daughter must have been tucked in tight those two nights with her daddy so elated at Wall’s misfortune.
Then Wall busted out a triple-double with Magic Johnson in the house as the Wiz defeated the Rockets. Wall only had one turnover and his stat line was a fantasy basketball stocking stuffer.
Cowherd wouldn’t wave the white flag, say the kid could be pretty good and move on to Cecil Newton or the Vikings mutiny, would he? Nope. He doubled down and thus reminded me of another troll definition:
“A person who posts things on some online community setting that are designed to purposefully assault and offend large numbers of people for no reason other than the Troll’s bias against them, hatred for them or personal amusement at annoying them.”
No doubt Cowherd is finding enjoyment in pissing off those defending Wall and revels in his hatred of someone just 20-years old.
“Why do I host a radio show? That’s why. Wednesday night, irrelevant NBA game, people in D.C. rushed to their computers. You have an opinion on John Wall. Mines’s not yours. I don’t want him as my long-term future.”
“He’s gonna be a fast break of one, he’s not gonna be a lot-of-titles guy, he’s not gonna be that guy….Just because I don’t jump into the hype fest of the Kentucky media to the D.C. media, who have an agenda, an emotional conviction toward him? Sorry. But I hated the Dougie. It’s absurd, it’s not what leaders do in any industry, it’s childish, it’s bad judgment, and I don’t care if the guy at the arena told you to do the Dougie. I hated it.”
Shorter Schrutebag: My emotional reaction is better than yours, because yours is emotional and mine is superior because I have a radio show and you do not. Got it? Everyone else has an agenda but me. Successful people do not dance, which is bad judgment and only for children.
A 20-year old Cowherd must have been quite the ladies man.
“Let me tell you something: I’m a big believer, when it comes to quarterbacks and point guards. Who’s your dad? Who’s your dad? Because I like confrontational players, I don’t like passive aggressive. Strong families equal strong leaders. Talent? Overrated. Leadership? Underrated. And you can say, well, Colin, can you just go out and say anything crazy and get people to e-mail. That’s not the point. You wouldn’t e-mail if I was an idiot, because you wouldn’t listen to the show. You listen to the show because we make good points.
“I simply have a different opinion than you do on John Wall. I like the character of Derek Fisher, the rebounding and distribution ability of Rajon Rondo, that’s what I like. That’s what I want from my point guards. You celebrate the assists more than the buckets…..I know he’s great. So don’t confuse [me saying] John Wall’s no good. No, John Wall’s an A+ talent. I don’t think he’s ever gonna be an A+ win-championships point guard.”
Colin once got his listeners to shut down a sports blog, hence the name Schrutebag. I only read his brain cramps via the Internet. (Thanks Dan Steinberg for your prolific radio show transcribing.) I do not listen to “The Herd” or email such a clown. So using his logic (or illogic), Cowherd, I think you make zero good points and are an idiot. But keep on, by all means:
“One of the things I’ve always knocked against Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, Derrick Rose has a passive-aggressive personality. He’s not confrontational. What does that mean? That’s not a good husband, and it’s not a good point guard, and it’s not a good CEO. They have brain types. And people who test for brain types knew that Peyton Manning would be much more successful than Ryan Leaf, because of Peyton Manning’s family background and his confrontational style. Derrick Rose pouts, gets moody, is passive-aggressive. I’m not a fan of Derrick Rose as my point guard. Rajon Rondo? Very confrontational. Argues with Doc Rivers, argues with teammates, argues with officials. I love that in my point guard. Magic would yap, Manning yaps, Brees yaps, Brady yaps, McNabb yaps. I want guys who are confrontational.”
“You know, John Wall and Vick are very similar. I”m not disputing their talent. I mean, Michael Vick and John Wall are fun to watch. But building my franchise around him, leadership position? I’m not giving Vick four-year deals, I’m not giving him $40 mil. No way. No. Way.”
Come on, only aggressive dudes can be good husbands? Cowherd is divorced so maybe he should steer clear of marital advice. (Ladies should also avoid spin classes and the Roy Rogers chili bar in the Bristol, Connecticut area.)
CEOs, PGs and husbands are not directly correlated whatsoever. Being good at one does not mean success at the other. Sorry, this is just B.S. made up in Cowherd’s head to make Wall look bad.
He obviously does not read the ESPN TrueHoop blog that covers the Wizards because I recently reported that Andray Blatche said Wall never shuts up, that he talks too much. Yes, he yaps and yaps and yaps. Unfortunately, this fact does not really fit into Cowherd’s preconceived premise.
Iverson, Marbury, and now Vick comparisons. He couldn’t swing in an O.J. reference? Wall is from North Carolina and you know who played for the Carolina Panthers? Rae Carruth. Of course, that makes no rational sense to connect the two, but one only needs an association in some capacity in Cowherd’s world.
I completely agree with the assessment of Dan Levy, of “On the DL” podcast and Press Coverage, that Cowherd’s stick is Shock Jock Schlock. He is happily getting a reaction out of people on purpose and is showing thin skin about being called out or forced to defend his point of view.
It’s not just that I disagree with Cowhed’s opinion, I do vehemently from the perspective of a Wizards fan and a basketball observer, but I also find his approach to reaching conclusions deeply ignorant in that they are unable to be proven. This is not about me having an “agenda.”
If Cowherd does not like Wall doing the Dougie, fine, that is an acceptable view — so take the stance that he is a showboat or the predictable, “he does not respect the game” mantra. The NBA is part of the entertainment business, and I always enjoy sports celebrations, so whatever.
If Cowherd thinks Wall turns the ball over too much and needs to limit those in order to be a great player, reasonable again, most fans and pundits would agree with this credible take.
Instead, he combined forms of these two in a faulty way to make wild incoherent views of Wall’s game and future career comparing him to Rondo. This is why people are outraged and others believe his words dripped in dog whistle racism.
Cowherd willingly glossed over the fact that Wall’s team won the 76ers game and that he was instrumental to the victory. I have heard more sane arguments from drunks that yell “Free Bird” at music concerts.
As Steinberg pointed out on the DC Sports Bog, the first quote out of Wall’s mouth following that Philly game was about his turnovers. I believe good leaders recognize and accept their mistakes in order to improve, and Wall has always seemed to adhere to this.
Then again, Cowherd’s definition of “leadership” is all that matters … so it seems.
Wall’s path to the Wizards is a compelling one. He lost his father at a young age and recently found out that he was in jail for murder. He misbehaved as a youth and struggled in school. After a move, he had to repeat his sophomore year in high school and was cut from a high school basketball team. This crushed him and his recovery was benefited by putting his faith in God. His grades, behavior, and basketball fortunes eventually turned around and he blew up on the national scene at age 16. This is not your prototypical coddled superstar. The only real trouble Wall has ever been in is wandering into a vacant house with some friends, the misdemeanor charges were eventually cleared from his record.
Even though Wall was only at Kentucky for a year, Wildcat fans adore him, and he speaks openly about his love for Big Blue Nation. He is a family first guy who has acknowledged repeatedly that he would not be where he is today without the sacrifices of his mother. Wall’s Twitter account is full of Raleigh, North Carolina references, providing no evidence he is too big time for his hometown. I have been amazed at Wall’s ability to handle the pressure of being the NBA’s top pick, having his name on the Verizon Center, and being the main hope for a franchise at such a young age.
This is the story that Cowherd should be telling, but his troll behavior makes it about him. He is now maligning Wall’s dead father and saying Wall’s best friend is Arenas, which makes him a loser. The kicker: Cowherd has somehow landed a CBS sitcom deal. I give up.
Now, let us hopefully never have to reference the Schrutebag ever again. Deal?