|Posted by paul on February 21, 2012 at 7:50 AM|
A second hallowed Boston writer, the Herald's Gerry Callahan, has joined Bill Simmons in calling for Rondo to be traded.
Such writers are part of a system of hierarchically interconnected fiefdoms; many of the interconnections are informal, but binding all the same. The way the system works reminds me of the way a university works. Formally, a university is a loose union of independent areas and participants, where each department and each faculty member zealously guards their independence, because this is theoretically the foundation of their authority. Who would respect what a professor said if one thought of the prof as a paid stooge, right? The same holds with writers. Who would care what they said, if one thought of them as paid stooges?
But that's really what they are, in my opinion. They know where their money comes from, and they know where their privileged access comes from. I believe we can expect a crescendo of hit pieces from Boston media against Rondo, as Danny presumably works up to trading our once 'future'. In Callahan's Rondo hit piece, this is the closest he comes to clarity ...
At first blush, it sounds crazy. Rondo turns 26 tomorrow. He is serving a two-game suspension for throwing a ball at an official, but he’s healthy, he’s under contract at reasonable money, and he’s a top 10 point guard in a point guard league. He’s averaging a career-high 14.8 points per game and proving he can score when he wants to.
Trade him? Seems wiser to trade everyone else and build anew around him. But then you wonder: How long will that take? Three years, maybe more? Rondo has three years (and $36 million) left on his contract after this season, and even when things are going OK, he appears impatient, annoyed, petulant.
You think that guy will provide veteran leadership and a steady hand in the post-Kevin Garnett era?
The rest of the article is an attempt to coagulate Rondo's worst moments and the worst assumptions about his future into a hopeless picture of a cancer, a scoundrel, a "punk", as Callahan so eloquently puts it; like a 'Lindsay Lohan' he says, seeming to strain his literary imagination to its (tabloid infused?) maximum. This then is the case against Rondo; a blatant hack job. Sadly, Rondo fans can expect the chorus of jackels to grow. Just as Perk was demonized in Boston, in order to justify The Trade, I expect that Rondo's demonization, already halfway complete, will crest over the next two weeks.
It's already pretty relentless. Here's the way the Herald's Murphy 'reported' on Rondo's suspension:
Rajon Rondo’s little fit of pique — throwing the ball into the chest of referee Sean Wright during the third quarter of last night’s loss to Detroit — has come with a price.
The NBA decided this afternoon to suspend the Celtics [team stats] point guard for two games, meaning he won’t play again until the Celtics return from the All-Star break on Feb. 28 in Cleveland.
Rondo’s discretion occurred late in the third quarter of a disappointing loss to the lowly Pistons. Rondo drove the lane and felt he was fouled by Detroit’s Greg Monroe. The ball ended up in Rondo’s hands after the Celtics were whistled for a 24-second violation. Rondo walked up the court while letting Wright know his feelings about the no-call.
As Wright was signalling to the scorer’s table, Rondo flung the ball, with some mustard on it, at the ref. The ball bounced off Wright’s chest, resulting in two very quick technicals, Rondo’s ejection, and, now, his suspension.
Notice that when it comes to describing what happened on the play, Murphy affects objectivity. As a journalist, his writing seems to say, he can only say that Rondo thought there was a foul. He cannot say that one player being trampled by another was in fact a foul. But his journalism stops there, doesn't it? Calling Rondo's confrontation with the offcial a "little fit of pique" is exactly opposite to unbiased, isn't it? And note that Murphy foregrounds the question of whether there was or wasn't a foul (which flies in the face of common sense, considering that Rondo got trampled while shooting), but doesn't even acknowledge any question about whether a two day suspension was appropriate!
Pretty funny stuff, really. The media are such a joke these days. But the damage being done to Rondo's career is no joke.
To his credit, Rivers has apparently stuck up for Rondo to some extent.
“You could tell he lost his composure, because at halftime he was the one saying, ‘Hey guys, let Doc work on the refs,’ You leave them alone,’ ” Rivers said. “So clearly that (ball toss) was not intentional.”
Rivers also chose to support his point guard, who was originally enraged by an apparent non-call on the Pistons’ Brandon Knight after Rondo felt he was fouled driving to the basket. Rondo ended up on the floor, then shouted at Wright.
“You’re always disappointed when that happens,” Rivers said. “You should never put yourself in front of the team. But the game is an emotional game. We can agree it was a pretty clear foul and a bad foul that wasn’t called.
Rivers then turned to a phrase he has used in the past for other young players. Growing up in the public eye can be tough, according to the Celtics coach.
“We all do some messed up things in our lives, and unfortunately for Rondo, he does it in front of a lot of people and we don’t,” Rivers said. “That’s the big difference. We always tell our guys to think about the team if you can, but it’s hard.”
But you know, while I think it's nice for Rivers to affect a fatherly and caring tone after the fact, WHERE WAS HE WHEN THE PLAY HAPPENED? Would Rondo have felt less infuriated if he saw Doc pleading his case? And let's be clear; that wasn't just a bad foul. That was a truly outragious non-call in a play where Rondo could have suffered a serious injury, as he has several times before. At some point a player has an obligation to stand up for himself, Doc, and you know it.