Yesterday the news exploded because of what Kevin Garnett purportedly said to Charlie Villanueva during a basketball game in which the Celtics destroyed the Pistons 109-86. Villanueva tweeted after the game that KG’s trash talk went too far when KG lobbed the words “cancer patient” in Charlie Villanueva’s general direction. Kevin Garnett is a notorious trash talker. Charlie Villanueva has a disease, alopecia that causes him to look different. KG (according to CV31) used that as fodder for personal trash talk. KG is now on record saying that he told Villanueva that he was “cancerous to his team and the league.” There are so many sides to this thing that need exploring, so where should we begin?
Let’s start with the irony of this name-calling incident coming to the forefront on election day. During a month where, especially for Ohioans, there have been near constant advertisements lobbing various accusations and names in all different directions, yesterday was supposed to be the end of the name-calling for a while. The votes were being counted and the results were being reported and our reprieve was supposed to be from the phone calls, pieces of mail and TV ads. Then, Charlie Villanueva takes a page almost directly out of the political playbook in exposing his opponent, not on the court of play where it matters, but in the lights of the public. You’ll have to excuse me as I wretch for even having to consider that our sports worlds and political worlds are colliding in hideous fashion.
I would never condone the type of comment that Kevin Garnett might have made. Nobody can or would. You want to know why? It is trash talk from the court. We shouldn’t know anything about it unless we were close enough to hear it. I probably wouldn’t be able to condone 99% of the other pieces of trash talk that get thrown around during most pro sports events. Except the ones that occur in golf. I bet I can condone about 25% of those.
This whole incident says a lot of things about a lot of people, but very little that we didn’t already know about Kevin Garnett. He is a bully and a thug and we (or at least I) call him that all the time. I have for years. And you know that thing he does when he jumps in the air and grabs jumpers out of the air after the referee’s whistle? I DESPISE that and he does it ALL the time. Hearing that he might or might not have called Charlie Villanueva a “cancer patient” has done nothing to create a new version of Kevin Garnett for me or most other people around the nation. We know this guy and all of us already have established whether or not we love or hate him for who we know he is.
So now that we have established that Kevin Garnett is a guy with questionable honor and character, what are we left with? We are left with Charlie Villanueva who is responsible for tattling on his opponent, one who I might add he couldn’t beat on the basketball court in embarrassing fashion. Just like you have to consider the source because Kevin Garnett is a thug, you have to consider the source because CV31 laid this out after getting beaten badly. Was this his only petty way of getting back at KG? Villanueva is also the guy who tweeted LeBron’s decision before it was announced because he found out and couldn’t comprehend not injecting himself into the story somehow. Regarding the KG stuff, do you really believe that Villanueva’s “feelings” were hurt, or was this just his only way to get back at his opponent like a negative political ad? I don’t know about you, but I have my doubts about Villanueva’s motives.
Speaking of offended, I also want to make sure we all look in the mirror on this too. I read reactions from all over the place diving into cancer stories about survivors and how insensitive all this stuff is. I read about how people were personally affected by KG’s comments. Really? Look, pretty much everyone in this nation has been around the horribleness of cancer. At some point, I just don’t know how you could allow Kevin Garnett, of ALL people, to affect you in that way.
A “he said, he said” account of what a couple of millionaire basketball players say to each other on the court should never be enough to affect you and your real life situations involving friends, family and cancer. We all know Kevin Garnett has a problem. Guess what? If you are feeling real feelings due to some unsavory trash talk of KG’s as reported later on Twitter, you also have a really big problem.
Sticks and stones doesn’t totally apply here, but that’s because sticks and stones was meant for comments made directly to you. Nobody thought they would have to come up with a little rhyme about being offended by speech purportedly spoken to someone other than you who might or might not have even been in your general vicinity.
So, if you are keeping score at home, everyone is wrong. It starts with Kevin Garnett as the worst for saying it. Then it goes to Charlie Villanueva second for letting everyone know about it. Finally it comes all the way back to us and the media for feeding into it and allowing it to exist as something more than what it really should be. Unfortunately, I am guessing that we haven’t seen the last of the cultural convergence of political style PR and sports. And here I was, as an Ohioan, peppered by negativity for the last month via political attack ads hoping that I could forget about this kind of stuff for a while after election day. I guess not.
On the bright side, aren’t you Cavs fans happy that Charlie Villanueva chose the Pistons over the Cavs?