The Portland Trail Blazers are deep into an internal investigation involving GM Neil Olshey. As the investigation goes on, more and more people are coming forward with stories of their own. One such story is that of Dan Dickau, who played for the Blazers back in the 2000s and served as a player development assistant during the 2011-12 season.
Former Blazers player/coach Dan Dickau (@dandickau21) speaks out on Neil Olshey, detailing experience being cursed out, humiliated & gaslighting. Dickau also reveals common knowledge: Former GM Chad Buchanan the one who zeroed in on Damian Lillard predraft https://t.co/4XCS5iQFSN— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) November 8, 2021
On his podcast, “The Iso with Dan Dickau,” he outlines his brief time as an employee alongside Olshey. Dickau explains that he was one of only two coaches that were not initially let go by Olshey when he took over as the general manager, but explains that even with consistent follow up, he never knew if his position with the team was secure or if he’d continue to have a job.
Ultimately, the organization hired former coach Terry Stotts for the head coach position, and even though Dickau was told he would get an interview for a coaching position, the coaching staff was announced three days later without that opportunity.
“I was one of the biggest if not the biggest Blazer fan growing up in the Portland area. I could name, as an 8, 9, 10 year old the entire roster.”
“I was the biggest Blazers fan you could imagine. I loved the game of basketball, my biggest goal was someday to play for the Blazers.”
The kid from Portland had fulfilled his dream of playing with the team, and hoped to continue to work for the organization going forward. After doing what he could to secure a returning position with the Blazers, and being unsuccessful, Dickau contacted the front office, looking for a different kind of employment opportunity with the organization. He sent an email to Sarah Mence, who served as the Chief Marketing Officer at the time. The email read:
“Sarah, I hope this email finds you well. I would like a chance to meet for coffee early this week. I’ve enjoyed being back as a part of the Blazers family this past year. I believe that my involvement has been good for everyone involved. Being from Portland, I would obviously like to stay not only for my career development But also be a part of the bright future the Blazers have. I will be out of town next weekend, but would appreciate the chance to meet. Thanks.”
Just two days later, Dickau received a phone call from Olshey.
“In an aggressive tone, he calls me and he starts cursing me out telling me ‘why would you f-ing go behind my back. You went behind my back and tried to play politics with the email that you sent. You former players don’t get it. You don’t work. You’re lazy. You’re gonna have a hard time finding a job in the league ever again if this is the way you act because you’re a former player and you’re very lazy.’”
Dickau wasn’t surprised to hear about the investigation into the Trail Blazers’ GM.
“I’m not surprised because he treated me that way right after he got the job, I can only imagine how things have gone for many many other people over the last 9 years.”
In an interview with John Canzano for Oregon’s radio station 750 The Game, Dickau talked about the same phone call.
“Neil Olshey calls me on the phone out of the blue and just rips me a new one. I don’t know how many F-bombs were dropped in that phone call. I’m a big boy. I’ve played professional sports. I’ve been in locker rooms and played multiple games, but for that to come out of the blue for asking a simple question?”
Portland fans have seemingly struggled to come to terms with all that’s unfolded over the last few months, and the news of Olshey’s alleged toxicity doesn’t help that. Dickau mentioned on his podcast that he was no longer a fan of the team like he’d been as a child, but ended the podcast with a statement that may resonate with lots of fans.
“Portland deserves better for their fans, they deserve better for the city, I would love to be a Portland Trail Blazers fan again, as I’m sure a lot of other people would in that city.”