My technical glitches (now hopefully mostly solved...still struggling a little) kept me from commenting too much on the news that developed this week but I do have a couple thoughts on recent developments.
First there's the news from ESPN.com (via Casey) that Sebastian Telfair may be on his last legs with the Celtics after being caught with a gun in his car plus an invalid driver's license plus going 30 mph over the speed limit. This brings up a point that I've been meaning to make for a while. At the height of the troubled times when players were seemingly getting in unflattering situations every week or two one of the responses from fans wanting to absolve the Blazers (or at least mitigate the impact of the events on them) was to say, "This is just happening because it's Portland." The implication was that Portland was at best uptight and at worst unfair about player behavior. The argument was that in bigger places--presumably more "cultured" places--these offenses would be no big deal. I heard people say they wouldn't happen at all because there was so much more to do elsewhere. I heard people say that if they did happen the media wouldn't report on them or make a big deal of them. I heard people say that even if the media did report them both the public and team would just shrug. I heard people postulate that if we got rid of these guys they would be welcomed with open arms elsewhere, produce for their new teams, and we'd be sorry eternally. Over and over and over again I read these things in forums, chat rooms, and blogs.
I am now officially calling BS (which on this family-oriented site, of course, means baloney sandwich.)
Boston is a pretty big place. It's a pretty happening town. It's a team with a solid fan base. It's also a team desperately in need of talent. Right now it looks as if they're going to fire Sebastian Telfair over that one offense. And his incident is mild compared to some of the things we've seen. What about Houston with Bonzi Wells? They're really happy with him, aren't they? As was Sacramento before them (even with his playoff production). Ruben Patterson made such a big splash in Denver that they immediately dumped him off to Milwaukee, where they won 28 games with him this year. Remember Qyntel Woods? He couldn't make it in Miami or New York. Jeff McInnis couldn't make it in Cleveland or New Jersey. No doubt at this point someone will yell, "What about Rasheed?!?" but `Sheed is a different case. We would have kept him had he been willing to stay...he basically forced the move even though we determined his offenses didn't outweigh his value. Besides if you scratch beneath the surface in Detroit you will hear more than your share of muttering about him too.
The point is those arguments and defenses of the team/players/whatever are crap. They always were. Portland is not without its quirks and problems but that's really not much different than other cities. Being stupid is being stupid (and likely to draw censure and penalty) no matter where you do it. There might be good reasons to keep a player despite some trouble, but these aren't them. These are the modern day equivalent of those old time maps that, when knowledge ran out, replaced it with "Thar' Be Sea Monsters Here! And after that...the End of the World." Oh yeah? Let's try it and see.
The second piece of news (also via Casey) was the passing of David Halberstam. Halberstam's book, The Breaks of the Game, is required reading for all Blazer fans young and old. So much so that I'm thinking about having an online book club at Blazersedge this summer where we all read and comment on the book. His passing is a great loss to the world of writing but he left us with something unforgettable. Check it out if you haven't already.