Jason Quick and Jerryd Bayless: He Said, He Said

In his game recap last nightJason Quick of The Oregonian couched some potentially explosive, potentially generic quotes from Jerryd Bayless into a typically fiery narrative. 

Bayless, meanwhile, is doing his best not to explode. His sour face when he was pulled with 10:14 left in the fourth, despite having hit two key baskets near the end of the third quarter, told the story.

Bayless feels like he is not awarded the trust nor the freedom from the coaching staff, which often pulls him after a mistake, no matter how many positive plays he produced prior. 

"I know every time I play I've helped this team. Every single time,'' Bayless said before Saturday's game. "It's tough. Especially since, and I hate saying this, seeing these other guys (Blake and Miller) doing what they are doing. I know I can help this team. I know I can.''    

Late last night, within hours of the story being posted, Jerryd Bayless clarified the meaning of these quotes on his official twitter pagehere and here.

Never would I question my teamates abilities... I was talking about other young guards helping theiir teams out around the league!!

I have way to much respect for them to ever do something like that... And they are way to good.. We will bounce back from tonight.. BELIEVE

It should be noted that this isn't the first time Jerryd Bayless has had troubles with writers covering the team.  This past summer, there was a week-long confusion regarding whether Bayless had or hadn't worked out with Greg Oden in Ohio, prompted by contradictions between multiple sources close to the situation and Bayless himself.

With that said, we're looking at a tricky ethical situation here because the words "(Blake and Miller)" are in print but weren't actually spoken by Bayless himself.

How did those words get there?  Did Bayless indicate nonverbally to the writer -- as regularly happens in the locker room setting -- that he was speaking about his fellow point guards? Did he motion towards his teammates? Point at them? Use nicknames for them? Refer to them by their uniform numbers? Call them profanities that couldn't be printed? There are many ways for bracketed words to find their way into pieces.  

Generally speaking, the writer holds an extra degree of responsibility over those words and must be absolutely sure that they accurately represent what the player meant at the time.  Otherwise, everyone -- writer, player, readers -- is left with a quintessential case of "he put words in my mouth" without any audio tape to help clear things up.  When in doubt in these situations, seeking clarification is essential. 

In this case, given the consequences of a statement resulting from the words that appear in brackets, the burden falls on the writer to explain how he arrived at "(Blake and Miller)."  With such an obvious alternative present (the one Bayless put on twitter, which is consistent with statements made in the past) one would hope there is reasonable justification for entering his teammates' names into the quote. What was it?  

Prior to writing my recent piece It's Bayless Time I spoke to a few sources close to Bayless.  They made it abundantly clear that he is frustrated.  (As does his twitter here and here.)  I tried to get across the gist of their sentiments when I wrote...

Can you blame Jerryd Bayless for harboring some frustration after watching young point guards like Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, Jonny Flynn, Brandon Jennings, Ty Lawson, Tyreke Evans and Darren Collison receive significant run? After seeing former Blazers Jarrett Jack, Channing Frye and Sergio Rodriguez enjoy success almost as soon as they left Portland?  

That seems to mirror Bayless's explanation on twitter pretty closely, doesn't it?  On a night when he watched fellow young stud Brandon Jennings (18/11/4) give his team fits and when he was able to make positive contributions in limited minutes himself, you would expect that grass-is-greener frustration to be at full simmer.

One thing is clear: calling out his teammates is totally out of character for the public Jerryd Bayless of the last 18 months. Given that track record, in this case of he said/he said I believe Bayless deserves the full benefit of the doubt.

And we all deserve a fuller explanation of what was said and unsaid in that Milwaukee locker room.

-- Ben Golliver | (benjamin.golliver@gmail.com) | Twitter

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