Colin Cowherd Wants Your Forgiveness. Don't Give It To Him. | Wizards Blog Truth About

Colin Cowherd Wants Your Forgiveness. Don’t Give It To Him.

Updated: December 9, 2014


For a guy who plays a radio tough guy, Colin Cowherd sure isn’t very brave.

Cowherd spent years bizarrely attacking John Wall, when it was convenient and safe for him to pick on Washington’s young point guard.

Now Cowherd is finally calling for a truce—when he actually needs to retreat.

Cowherd’s a fading star in the constellation of talking-head windbags, in the way that “Two And a Half Men” is still sorta-popular even though it’s all empty calories and wasted space.

For a time, Cowherd co-hosted ESPN2’s popular TV show “SportsNation,” but was eventually exiled back to his gigs with ESPNU and ESPN Radio, where he could torment fewer viewers and assault only one of our senses, respectively.

His radio show is seemingly produced by the Skip Bayless school of “journalism”: come up with a provocative angle on a sports story, accuracy be damned.

Although unlike Bayless, Cowherd didn’t make his bones by going after the league MVP like LeBron James. He targeted a 20-year-old rookie based on a “gut feeling.” He boldly punches down.

To be a radio talking head means to be forever in search of a shtick, and Cowherd found one in November 2010: That John Wall’s decision to do the “Dougie” before the Wizards’ home opener in his rookie season was a sign of vanity and weakness. (Cowherd ignored that Wall only did the dance at the urging of then-assistant coach Sam Cassell; that it fired up the home crowd; and that the point guard’s near-triple double led the Wizards to a rare victory.)

“Before the game started, he spent 34 seconds doing the Dougie,” Cowherd said the next day. “That tells me all I need to know about J-Wow. Then he opened his mouth later and confirmed it: not a sharp guy.”

What Wall actually said after the game:

“Yeah, it was great, man, the one thing I want to really work on, though—great win for the team—but turnovers,” Wall lamented. “I came back in and had nine or eight. That’s too many turnovers for this team.”

One random, nutty attack—like so much hot air, destined to be forgotten. Easily forgiven, even.

But over the next few years, Cowherd built an odd, false narrative around Wall. And it wasn’t just a typical radio blowhard taking pot shots. This was some seriously screwed-up stuff.

Wall was doomed to be a failure, because he grew up without a father, Cowherd cruelly suggested. The Wizards franchise would never win because Wall lacked crucial moral fiber.

And Cowherd stuck with it. Again and again.

“Colin Cowherd this week talked yet again about a 30-second dance John Wall did five years ago,” Dan Steinberg dryly noted in the Washington Post this summer.

Of course, Cowherd could largely get away with it. The Wizards were a bad team. Wall was a young, still-developing player. To be honest, no one around the nation really cared to argue, save D.C.’s loyalists and diehard NBA fans.

He can’t get away with it anymore.

On Monday night, Wall played one of the gutsiest games of his career: a 27-point, 17-assist performance in a double-overtime win. He broke down and cried in the post-game interview, physically drained and emotionally spent after a six-year-old friend died from cancer earlier that day.

He’s an All-Star. A franchise player. A tough competitor and an obvious leader.

After the game, Cowherd saw the writing on the wall—specifically, the writing on Wall at Deadspin, where dozens of comments took Cowherd to task. Or the posts on Twitter, as colleagues wagged their fingers.

“Profiled [John Wall] in 2010,” Sports Illustrated‘s media critic Richard Deitsch posted on Twitter on Monday. “Liked him then, like him now. Colin Cowherd looks foolish. Should finally apologize.”

So on Tuesday’s show, Cowherd issued a mea culpa of sorts. Wall has “grown and matured,” Cowherd suggests. And now Wall’s worthy of his respect. But don’t expect Cowherd to actually say sorry; “if you are looking for apologies, you are off the wrong pier,” he boasts.

Of course, Cowherd’s comments weren’t exactly convincing. Or true.

“The time for Colin Cowherd to correct himself on John Wall was five years ago,” SB Nation’s Tom Ziller tweeted. “It’s already too late. Ain’t nothing about Wall changed.”

Ziller’s right. Conor Dirks is right.

Picking on a young player, playing loose with the facts, refusing to apologize—that’s not bold or mature.

Colin Cowherd opened his mouth and confirmed it on Tuesday. He’s a bully and a coward. And not a sharp guy.

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Dan Diamond
Contributor at TAI