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Mike Wise calls Peter Vecsey an "old, bitter man"

In the interest of closing the loop, figure I should present Mike Wise's comments on the New York Post's Peter Vecsey. After Vecsey ripped him in print, Wise responded in true 21st century fashion: on his radio show. This was the final segment of Wise's show on 106.7 The Fan from Tuesday afternoon.

"Let me first say that without Peter Vecsey, I'm never promoted to the job of NBA columnist at the New York Times, and the reason is there wouldn't be a position of NBA columnist. He created it. He was the first beat writer to be given the job of only covering the league, not just the Knickerbockers. His reporting and tidbits surrounding really the renaissance of the NBA in 1980 with the arrival of Bird and Magic won him fame and riches in his profession. And as the players he covered in the '70s and '80s became team executives, he developed great sources over the years and has broken some of the biggest stories in the NBA in the past three decades. His longevity--I'll give him this--has earned my respect. He's been around forever, and that has as much to do with him being inducted into the writer's wing of the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. last fall as anything.

"Now, what hasn't earned my respect is his half-assed journalism. He's thrown 10 things against the wall his whole life, hoping one of them sticks. You know, Peter Vecsey's what's wrong with my business. He became one of these tabloid yahoos more concerned with being [first than right]. And he was enabled by the New York Post, a publication where the sports editor once told the new Knicks writer, Never be afraid to be wrong. Never be afraid to be wrong. Think about that. That's Peter Vecsey's legacy.

"Oh, did I mention he took interest-free loans from Nets owner Joe Taub to buy his house on Shelter Island in Long Island? Yeah. One of the great lines I once heard him tell someone was this: 'If you don't have at least two conflicts of interest in this business, you're no one.' Well, who would know other than Peter Vecsey?...

"Secondly, let me say, Peter Vecsey would be a flat-out joke in my business, but he's not funny. He's mean-spirited, and he's just about heartless. I'll never forget the time I came back from talking to a kid who tried to commit suicide in Dallas after he ingested a bottle of aspirin. Leon Smith was his name, and he never should have come out of high school, and the Mavericks should have had a much better support system for an obviously troubled young man who just happened to have talent. Vecsey made cruel jokes about this kid's suicide attempt afterward in his column. Now, I don't care if you slam me or anybody else, but Leon Smith was raised in a foster home called Lydia Children's Home in Chicago. He was a ward of the state of Illinois due to neglect from his parents when he was 5 years old.

"When you do something like that, when you make fun of that kid, you're not just insensitive, you're a rotten human being. You're a lousy person. You don't deserve the respect of a punk-ass kid at the Rucker League thinking, 'Man, Peter Vecsey used to be something, didn't he?' You old bitter man. You make me sick."

Like you, I then got curious about what Vecsey wrote about Leon Smith. Turns out Smith has been a frequent punchline in Vecsey columns, provided "punchline" doesn't connote humor. I'm not sure which particular line set Wise off, but here are some of Vecsey's best.

* Note to all you disgruntled college graduates: Do you really think, had Leon Smith not jumped from high school to the NBA, he'd be sane today? Give me a commercial break. As if the pros and Don Nelson are responsible this kid's messed-up mind.

* If union executive Billy Hunter's job description is to blame somebody else any time one of his membership has a problem, he's succeeding. As usual, the trigger-happy Hunter was quick to point his finger at Don Nelson when Leon Smith tried to commit suicide. As if it was the Maverick coach/GM's fault the kid entered the league as its No. 1 mood swing player.

Now that Smith has been arrested twice while under the auspices of the player's association's assistance program, it's only fair for Nelson to cite Hunter, a Johnnie Cochran wannabe, for contemptible irresponsibility. Come on, Billy, can't you control your guys?

* Deputy commissioner Russ Granik says the NBA may void Leon Smith's contract. Gee, I hope it doesn't set the kid off. Clearly, the scouts were wrong in their assessment of Smith. As evidenced by his draft selection (last pick of the first round), they were unimpressed with his talent. They claimed Smith couldn't get himself arrested in this league.

* Union executive Billy Hunter contends Don Nelson should have known something was amiss with Smith when his name surfaced three times in the Warren Report.

* This year's crop [of rookie game participants includes] Steve Francis, Elton Brand, Lamar Odom, Shawn Marion, Adrian Griffin, Walt Szczerbiak, Baron Davis, Andre Miller, Jason Terry, Ron Artest, James Posey, Corey Maggette, Richard Hamilton and possibly (based on hearsay) Jonathan Bender. Leon Smith would be eligible should David Stern yield to Billy Hunter's pressure and open up the game to first time offenders.

* And you wonder what Mark Cuban, the Mavericks owner-in-waiting, sees in Dennis Rodman? Evidently he needs a leader for this freak show. Once Rodman joins Don Nelson's circus, Cuban's next act will be to recruit John Rocker as director of community relations. What could be a bigger draw than The Worm and The Germ? Next thing you know, Cuban will be selling us the promotional value of Siamese Twin Towers. How long can it be before Cuban brings back Leon Smith and apologizes to him for all the suffering the Mavericks have caused him?

* Bill Willoughby says the Nets really are fatally attracted to Leon Smith. Why not? No question Smith's unique. He figures to be the first guy to go from the NBA to the NRA.

* The Bulls have ordered Corey Benjamin (charged with domestic battery for purportedly slapping his live-in squeeze) to meet with the team's new sensitivity counselor Leon Smith

* Rumor has it Leon Smith is stalking the guy who was stalking George Harrison.

* Selected No. 40 in '99 by the Spurs, [Gordon Giricek] was traded on draft day to Dallas for the lionized Leon Smith and a future second-rounder.

* Leon Smith's Nets tryout could be viewed as another suicide attempt.

Haha. Hilarious.

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 26, 2010; 3:16 PM ET
Categories:  Media , Wizards  
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Comments

OK, so he wasn't really "too nice" to rip Kornheiser. What was the real reason he insulted his listeners by promising to for a couple of days and then not delivering?

Posted by: jeremystoll | January 26, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Holy S, those quotes are crazy, great research. You get him, Mr. Wise. Gotta love that dude.

Posted by: eternale5150 | January 26, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Pete's a real stand up guy, isn't he? Punk.

Posted by: EricS2 | January 26, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I don't know anything about this guy, but I'll take him over Mike Wise any day.

Posted by: FlyersSuck | January 26, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Good for Mike Wise to give a strong response I still think his radio show should be canceled though.

Posted by: Dlewis10 | January 26, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Tough couple of weeks for Wise, at least from the public side of things. Under attack from all sides, New and Old Media.

Posted by: LouLewis | January 26, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Did Wise address the claim that he took Arenas' comments and made them look like quotes from a third party source? If he did that, that is plain unethical in my opinion. Instead of attacking Vecsey, perhaps Wise should be explaining himself.

Posted by: poguesmahone | January 26, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Notice Wise has not denied his source was Arenas. Isn't this exactly the type of unethical relationship with a source that journalism discourages?

Posted by: JDP_ | January 26, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

When I first started reading this piece, I was clapping my hands and say FINALLY. Then I realized Wise wasn't taking Vecsey to task for his outright libelous claims that Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton pulled guns on each other.

Still to this day, Vecsey has largely gotten a pass for his outrageous report. There simply is little to no accountable for members of the press who publish lies. Vecsey is primarily responsible for the Arenas story getting out of control from the start, and would never have generated the attention that it did were it not for Vecsey's bogus story.

Tomorrow on his show, Wise should go after Vecsey for that as well.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 26, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

choosing between vescey and wise is like choosing between gonorrhea & syphilis

Posted by: NinoP | January 26, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Did Wise address the claim that he took Arenas' comments and made them look like quotes from a third party source? If he did that, that is plain unethical in my opinion. Instead of attacking Vecsey, perhaps Wise should be explaining himself.

Posted by: poguesmahone | January 26, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

no offense, but you really have no idea what you are talking about. What Wise did was perfectly ethical, commonly done, and is taught at many if not most journalism schools in this country.

It's interesting to see how little the public knows about how the source game is played.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 26, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Once again, Mike Wise takes on someone more prominent than he is in the desperate hope to become famous-by-association.

Good luck with that.

Posted by: bermanator34 | January 26, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm no fan of Mike Wise, but this stuff by Vescey is atrocious. Not only is it horribly offensive and in poor taste, it's not funny (when he's obviously trying to be).

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 26, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

The Leon Smith portion of the radio rant is vintage Mike Wise -- bringing up a name and an incident that is years old because he's looking to make a splash in the radio market by fanning this feud he and Vecsey apparently have. I kept waiting for him to say "While I was in the hospital bringing him chicken soup and ginger ale, that other guy was foreclosing on his house!" Please. What does that have to do with anything?

Instead of making it about what Vecsey said about the Arenas story and how Wise reported it -- which would be actual journalism -- he ignores that in the rant and instead calls Vecsey names without actually addressing his criticisms.

But hey, as long as he has the Sports Bog to fight his battles for him in print, he can at least stay above the fray here and limit these rants to the radio.

At least when Kornheiser has something to get off his chest, he does it in the first segment because he knows that people who are listening to him at 10:00 will still be there at noon. Wise just teases it for four hours hoping that a few more people will tune in. Again, good luck with that.

Posted by: bermanator34 | January 26, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

barno1, the source game was a conspiracy designed by the media elites.

Posted by: BMACattack | January 26, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

As an only intermittently follower of this little soap opera (and I hope that includes most of us, this really isn't worth our time, is it?), it does seem obvious that the Post has been scooped time after time on this story for whatever the reason and, it also seems obvious that Post reporters, if they are indeed following the Wizards as closely as they would like us to believe, do hold back on negative stories to protect their sources. Example? Apparently at some point in the not too distant past, Gilbert Arenas actually dropped a load in one (both?) of Andre Blatche's shoes. We are we presented with that little tidbit only after all the gun problems spilled. Why, prior to this, didn't anybody find it worth reporting that Gilbert Arenas frequently played incredibly crude and degrading "jokes" on his team mates. He's the high priced star of the team and the Post reporters, Mr. Wise included, felt it best to give him a free pass. Mr. Wise, I agree that Vescey has been a mean little SOB, but you've watched Gilbert crap on his teammates and never said a thing.

Posted by: clocker58 | January 26, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Barnohole: you have no clue what ethics even is, apparently.

Posted by: poguesmahone | January 26, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

I'm assuming Wise denies that Arenas is his source?

Proceed with the name-calling............

Posted by: CF11555 | January 26, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

I think the Bog ought to start a poll on which journalist Mike Wise will take on next.

I'm thinking Skip Bayless, since he has an ESPN gig that Wise presumably wants and that seems to be the theme of all of his "feuds" -- they're all with guys ahead of him in the sports entertainment biz.

Posted by: bermanator34 | January 26, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of jokes, did anyone else catch Kevin Sheehan making fun of Nancy Kerrigan's blind mother today on Tony Kornheiser's show .. referring to her as Mrs Magoo?

Ever since Sheehan joined Kornheiser's show the level of sports journalism there has rapidly approached the gutter. The guy just cannot stop making immature comments. Why does Tony even tolerate him ... a 'hey, look at me' hanger on?

Posted by: tslats | January 26, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

wise's radio show is best on the fan. I'm still and was originally a junkies fan, but they have mailed it in forever. wise doesn't spout as much contradictory or top-of-the-head idiocy repeatedly like every other show. he actually has stories. no need to shock. all the music on the show is pretty weak though. bring back big o and dukes!

Posted by: duh3 | January 26, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Tony K is a joke to did he not get fired from the post. His radio show blows he has a bunch of people who laugh at his not funny jokes iam so glad i am out the DC media market. Old man be on your way.

Posted by: efdelaney | January 26, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

What a real piece of work, I won't even bother to mention his name because as inhumane as he is he deserves no comment. May you rest in peace when your day comes, and may the hounds of hell have a great time giving you exactly what you deserve. Must be damn tough sitting in your white castle of hate all by yourself, have a long sit and then run you coward run.Problem is you will never get away.

Posted by: mfowler1 | January 26, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

One more thing thank you Mr.Wise for standing up like a true human being and not wilting as so many others would have done, what you have said was true,needed and I am thankful for your honesty, though I may not always agree with you Sir, at least I can respect you. Again Thank You.

Posted by: mfowler1 | January 26, 2010 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Vecsey's nickname is Peter Poison. He's known for his venom and sarcasm. It's not meant to be mean, just funny. He used to call Bill Muscleman of the Cavs Bill Musclehead. You have to admit those lines are HILLARIOUS..."stalking the guy who stalked George Harrison."

His story about the time he went to dinner with Charles Barkley (aka Sir Cumfrence) and Dr. J is hillarious. You can't make stuff like that up !

Just because a NY Sportswriter scooped DC's best is no reason for you guys to hate him.

Posted by: corvettekid | January 27, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

You guys blaming Vecsey are nuts.

The guy was first with the story and the basic account -- if not irrelevant details -- have stood up. Saying that if Vecsey hadn't broken the story in December that it wouldn't have spilled out like it has is ridiculous. David Stern isn't going to suspend Arenas for the rest of the year and possibly ban him from the NBA and/or void his contract because a few 'details' in Vecsey's original December report were incorrect. THE BASIC GIST OF THE STORY IS 100% CORRECT....guns in the locker...guys threatening one another....violations of the law....involvement of gambling and debts.

Face it, Vecsey and his NY pals beat the DC guys to the scoop on a story in the DC area. That's why they are teed off at him.

And if Vecsey's story is false, then Arenas should sue him. Just like Sprewell said he would do in 1998. And never did.

Posted by: corvettekid | January 27, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Wise is cool peoples! He doesn't hate all the athletes and some people don't like him for that. Peter Vecsey is a punk biatch!

Kornheiser is too arrogant and is not funny. That act of his was old three minutes after he started it. The show is terrible. He will only have co host that agree with everything he says, laughs at his jokes and massage his ego.

Wish I could get 106.7 in my office.

Posted by: millineumman | January 27, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Peter Vecsey is the king of the needle. Since he and the newspaper beat Wise and the Post on the story, he's taking the opportunity to needle a guy who he used to compete with in New York.

And of course, Wise's reaction is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! Why aren't I on NBC too? Why aren't I a media superstar? Maybe if I talk about Vescey enough, I can be Vescey! And then, maybe I can talk about TK again and it will be sort of like being on PTI, except only in a local radio market before a few thousand listeners.

Maybe if Wise didn't spend four hours a day on the radio, he and the Post wouldn't have gotten beat on the story.

Posted by: bermanator34 | January 27, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Peter Vescey is the Ralph Wiggum of journalism. While he may have a piece of the story much of it is often lost and sprinkled with inaccuracies and elaborations. His account of the Arenas lockerroom confrontation had some things right (Gil and Crit were there; there were guns) but the account is elaborated (they pulled pistols on each other), which just took a some facts and elaborated them to the point of laughability in the name of grabbing headlines and attention. Seriously, its like Ralph Wiggums description of Principal Skinner and Ms. Krabappel getting caught simply kissing in the closet.

Ralph: Mrs. Krabappel and Principal Skinner were in the closet making babies and I saw one of the babies and then the baby looked at me.

True, they were in the closet but no babies were made and none looked at Ralph, but hey, the story sounds better.

Posted by: fushezzi | January 27, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I'd care more about this; but, with all do respect it *is* Wise.

@Duh3, If you miss Big O and Dukes, you better be listening to the Mike O'Meara podcast. Oscar has brought a lot of the elements along with him. The MOM podcast is the best thing (not) on Radio.

www.mikeomearashow.com

Posted by: VTDuffman | January 27, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

right on VTDuffman! listening to Mike O's podcast is the best part of my day. also, O'Meara knows way more about the Caps that Wise could ever even pretend to know.

www.mikeomearashow.com

Posted by: VTUnited | January 27, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Now many people have suggested VTDuffman's IQ is not much higher than a toaster, but the last 2 posts make have solidified this notion once and for all. Seriously, did you really just write essentially the same blog comment twice under a different handle that also begins with VT???? Dude, you're an even bigger idiot than I thought.

Sorry.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 27, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

You're missing the entire point, corvettekid. It's not about the "gist" of the story(which was not broken by Vecsey). Journalism is supposed to be about reporting facts. Vecsey made things up that were completely off-base. What Vecsey often does is irresponsible and he is sadly allowed to get away with it. Nobody is blaming the events and Arenas' actions on the reports. People are simply stating that Vecsey has a history of being factually incorrect and irresponsible with his writing.

Posted by: sitruc | January 27, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

...and to top it off, your post was followed by a Hokie who doesn't have VT in their handle, Barno1.

Posted by: sitruc | January 27, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

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