In an interview with the Morning Sports Page on 95.5 FM with Dwight Jaynes and Chad Doing, Gerard Darnes, the European agent for Rudy Fernandez, fired back against Fernandez's critics, who he believes have mischaracterized and misunderstood Fernandez's situation in Portland.
Darnes's comments nearly left Jaynes and Doing speechless. Click here to listen to the audio of the interview, which is well worth your time. Here's a link to the show's website. The following is a rundown of the interview.
"What makes me want to be here today is Jason Quick's article in The Oregonian," Darnes said, stating that he was bothered by the piece "from the beginning to the end."
"I mean. Come on," Darnes pleaded. "No one has a right to make jokes about a human being's wishes and desires."
Darnes maintained that Fernandez has conducted himself professionally throughout his time here in Portland. "You cannot blame him for having the desire to be somewhere else. He has a contract, he's honoring the contract. He's here and playing. He has been very respectful to the fans. That's why he said that on Media Day also. He loves this community. Portland has treated him so well. He thanks the whole organization and the community. He's not saying, 'I don't want to practice.' He's practicing, playing, he's listening to the people cheer him."
Darnes also said that Fernandez had no choice but to make his feelings known publicly. "He needs to say it publicly so that people would understand his feelings."
It's clear that, despite a solid preseason debut, Fernandez's desire continues to be a release from his contract. "Rudy wishes to go home," he said. "His personal situation got worse. This change of mind has been produced in four months. His personal situation has been getting worse. There are things that I cannot say publicly, personal situations, that have been getting worse."
At one point, Darnes went so far as to say that Fernandez's situation was bigger than a business agreement. "It's a human being situation. It's not a business. It's a game." He also said finances were not the driving motivator behind Fernandez's decision. "It's not about money. If it was about money he would stay here and get a second contract."
Asked how he would respond to such a demand if he was in Portland GM Rich Cho's shoes, Darnes said he would "study the case and try to get compensation in some way. For sure there's a way of compensating. The Blazers could go on a European tour."
Darnes noted that he was troubled by an exchange between two fans that he overheard at the Rose Garden last night. "They were saying 'Rudy is so stupid. Why does he want to go home? There's only 350 players in the best league. He's so stupid.' I said, " Sorry, gentlemen, you can say whatever you want. But he's not stupid. You cannot call him stupid. You cannot say 'quit crying and play.'"
As the interview closed, Darnes tried to explain exactly why Fernandez wants to go home. "There's friends, there's family, he's a shy guy. He's special."
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter