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Etan Thomas Criticizes the Sports Media, Over a Beat



A couple years back, Etan Thomas had a little back-and-forth with the local media over its coverage of his heart condition, which ended up costing him about a year of his NBA career.

First there was this interview with Dave Zirin in which he criticized the "mountains of poorly written, heartless, inconsiderate, writers whose only concern is to sell papers at any cost" and who "don't want little nuisances like facts to get in the way of a good story."

Ivan Carter then answered in his blog, furiously writing that Thomas had misconstrued his reporting, and telling Thomas to "get your facts straight before you question the integrity of another human being." At which point, Thomas wrote an open letter to Carter, telling Ivan "the way you covered this entire situation was not only cold but irresponsible. I don't expect you to apologize because you don't feel like you did anything wrong. You were just doing your job. Well, maybe that's the problem."

That was almost two years ago. I figured it was all over. Not so fast.

See, Thomas and DerMarr Johnson collaborated on a track, talking about how each of them had overcome traumatic health issues. (Johnson was in a serious accident.) They recently played the track on Zirin's satellite radio show, Edge of Sports. (Listen here. You won't be sorry.) And while Thomas's verse is focused on the sports media in general, it's hard not to think of his feud with Ivan when hearing spoken word passages like this:

They are not hopping out of priestly robes no matter how much the power of the pen ascends upon them.
They're still blending truth with fiction for the sole purpose of winning over the reader's attention.
Newspapers force reporters to do the dirty work for The System as they Condoleeza Rice them.
Never mind if what they're writing is the truth or based on factual evidence;
As long as sales remain prevalent they get a gold star.
Rather than passing judgments they should be asking questions;
Gathering facts before lashing out baseless opinions.
You would think knowing would be half the battle but G.I. Joe they're not.
They tried to insert doubt into my reality
Leave me tapping out like I'm Savion Glover;
Throwing in the towel like I can't take another hit.
Words of discouragement and doubt would flood the pages like broken levees;
Constant reminders of odds stacked against me.
They tried to enlist me in their army of negativity but I kept ignoring their platters like they were offering pork.
See, storks couldn't bring me bundles of joy more precious than the power from above;
It's over their heads like halos.
They couldn't understand that I'd found the golden ticket;
Call me Charlie, and my factory hasn't been condemned.
I've got a quicker picker upper stronger than Bounty to clean up the filth from their pen;
It sends strength from within my soul to grant me wishes without rubbing on a lamp.
Their words of doubt did not defeat me;
I'm standing with two hands in the air like Rudy Huxtuble winning a game of checkers screaming King Me, King Me.


It goes on from there.

Anyhow, we're all extremely happy for Etan that he's able to resume his career. And I'm all for artistic expression wherever it comes. I guess the only thing I'd tell him is this: no matter how many times Ivan Carter blogged about him, sales--very sadly--have not remained prevalent. Bad media news has flooded the pages like broken levees. Anyhow, we don't get paid by the click, and a lot of writers--including Ivan--have always preferred not even to know their traffic numbers, ignoring them. You know, like platters of pork.

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 4, 2009; 9:31 AM ET
Categories:  Media , Wizards  
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Comments

With lyrics like that, Etan, do your best to hold on to that day job.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | September 4, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

disgruntled fan, that's exactly what I was thinking.

Posted by: trolly_time | September 4, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Thank god hes doing his awful slam poetry somewhere else this year

Posted by: JDP_ | September 4, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I won't miss the ongoing pretense that Etan is a good writer either.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | September 4, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

hit em up!

Posted by: efuller1 | September 4, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Thank JEBUS that Etan is somewhere else. He's a joke of a writer and an even worse basketball player. Everytime he got injured it was a blessing to the Zards. Obviously you don't want a guy to have serious health problems so I'm glad he has healed, but one of the reasons I'm so optimistic for this coming season is we don't have to waste minutes on the 'black hole of offense.'

Posted by: tkelly29 | September 4, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Etan Thomas is a nice guy, I met him once while his son was in a basketball camp and my son was trying out for an AAU team.

People in the media have become like wild dogs in a way because they jump on the smallest fact and paint there own picture. It makes for interesting reading, but it hurts the subject regardless. And I think people seem to forget that.......

Posted by: punchdaclock | September 4, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Etan's biggest problem in life (other than his heart condition) is the fact that he's a race-hustling bigot. He believes all members of a particular racial group should think alike, and spews venom at those that dare not conform to his vision of how they should think. Words like "uncle tom" are just as vile as other racial epithets, but guys like Etan either don't understand that or don't care.

He's a disturbed human being, as evidenced by his writings over the years. And it's just sad that the PC media over the years has treated him as if he is some bastion of nobility and intellect. The guy is a bigot, and should be treated as such.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 4, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Etan Thomas is a flaming a-hole. Just go away, Etan, go away.

Posted by: poguesmahone | September 4, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"Etan Thomas is a nice guy, I met him once while his son was in a basketball camp and my son was trying out for an AAU team.

People in the media have become like wild dogs in a way because they jump on the smallest fact and paint there own picture. It makes for interesting reading, but it hurts the subject regardless. And I think people seem to forget that.......

Posted by: punchdaclock |"

You are talking about the same guy who started 3 fights with his own teammate right? And never once pointed a finger towards any of the players who made it so he could get a wide-open dunk (and hang on the rim and then look at the crowd like he'd just broken Wilt's scoring record)?

Posted by: tmilt27@aol.com | September 4, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

That writing is just plain dopey. I echo the sentiment that Etan should thank his lucky stars he's tall and athletic...

Posted by: sjr0691 | September 4, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

As for Ivan Carter, there probably isn't a reporter in DC I've gone back and forth on my opinion of more than Ivan. As a Wizards beat reporter I thought he did a great job in many respects, though I didn't like that he gave Abe Pollin a pass on his extreme cheapness. And he refused to acknowledge mistakes in his articles and correct them (not grammatical, but factual mistakes).

But then I saw him on WaPo Live yesterday using my line of reasoning, almost verbatim, against the unfair attacks on the Redskins by the Washington Post--not just this week but over the last several years. Carter brought up the Washington Post's ongoing feud with the Redskins. He brought up Jason La Canfora and said he had the worst relationship with a GM that he has ever seen. He brought up the fact that the Post had 240+ seats yanked by the Redskins a few years back. And wondered aloud if this had anything to do with the anti-Redskins coverage in the paper.

Of course Len Shapiro, being the hack that he is, said that was all nonsense and went on to attack the team even further. And Gene Wang went on to completely misunderstand and botch the Redskins season ticket waiting list issue. But Ivan Carter should be commended for speaking the truth about the Post's agenda-driven coverage.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 4, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Etan is a psuedo-intellectual wannabe race-baiter. Plain and simple.

God his poetry reeks of holier than thou "teachings" to the uninformed.

Posted by: right3 | September 4, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Etan's skills as a poet are almost as bad as his value to any NBA team.

Posted by: nativedc | September 4, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

When there is not much to write about and a writer wants to at least make something interesting sometimes they might embellish, season, or spice it up a bit. It's the nature of the beast. I figure they don't want to bore themselves outta there minds. To me it looks like a tough job to do every day. Mentally tough. I'd rather play basketball and get paid millions.

Posted by: richs91 | September 4, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

@above:

"I didn't like that he gave Abe Pollin a pass on his extreme cheapness."

Um, what? How many major sports franchise owners since Pollin have paid for a new arena out of their own pockets? How many have spent $110 million on a one-legged basketball player? Call him crazy, call him a fool, call him a pushover (he did employ the most incompetent executive in the history of professional sports for an inconceivable number of years), but the cheap label ain't sticking.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | September 4, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Wow!

This guy stole nice $$$$ from the Wizards every time he missed an easy shot right underneath the basket.

He's going to ride the pine even in Oklahoma City and they have the worse team in the league.

Posted by: ENJOYA | September 4, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Hey Etan - The jerk store called, they're running out of you!
I wonder if Def Poetry Jam has a midlevel exception, because he seems to think he can make high 7 figures if he dedicated himself to any of his interests.

Posted by: theskinnypost | September 4, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

How can Etan Thomas not get along with the Washington Post?

Leftist jackasses and blacks who feel that their race is the only race that has ever endured hardships over the past few centuries, hence deserve special entitlements, usually get along swimmingly. Another person bashing Ms. Rice for not sharing the same brain with other African-Americans eh? She MUST be an idiot if she believes that earning upward mobility instead of being placated with free handouts(for your vote, thank you) are a dead end road.

Posted by: TripleH44 | September 4, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

@above:

"I didn't like that he gave Abe Pollin a pass on his extreme cheapness."

Um, what? How many major sports franchise owners since Pollin have paid for a new arena out of their own pockets? How many have spent $110 million on a one-legged basketball player? Call him crazy, call him a fool, call him a pushover (he did employ the most incompetent executive in the history of professional sports for an inconceivable number of years), but the cheap label ain't sticking.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | September 4, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

A) Abe bought the arena, and owns the arena, has made millions upon millions in equity from the arena, etc. Sure, he did the city a big favor and that area is now completely transformed thanks to him, but it doesn't take anything away from the cheap label.

B) Abe is the only owner that I am aware of in pro sports that has refused to fill out his roster because of the cost. We played the 2007-2008 season with 12 guys on the roster when NBA teams carry 15. We went stretches of the season without a back up point guard on the entire active roster because of Pollin's cheapness and surely cost us some games with no one to back up Antonio Daniels when Arenas was hurt.

C) Abe has given Ernie Grunfeld strict instructions on pay limits over the years and on several occasions has SOLD draft picks to other teams for cash--this year's 2nd rounder being a perfect example.

Tell me, what would the Washington Post do if Dan Snyder refused to field a 53 man roster and instead told Vinny he would only pay for 48 guys? Yet Ivan Carter gave Pollin a pass, as has the Post for years, becuase he is considered a great humanitarian and philanthropist who is responsible for the area around Chinatown being completely turned around ever since MCI opened in 97.

Posted by: Barno1 | September 4, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

the rudy huxtable line sold me... ;-)

Posted by: 3tripleiii | September 7, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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