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Flip Saunders on Gilbert's fake injury


(By Jonathan Newton - TWP)

The gong show returned to Verizon Center Tuesday night, when Gilbert Arenas apparently came up with a fake injury to help Nick Young get more playing time and then joked about it with the media at virtually the same time that Flip Saunders was praising Gilbert's mentality. Bad idea.

On Wednesday, all three of these men addressed the incident with the media. I wasn't there, but Saunders also went on ESPN 980's The Sports Fix and discussed the incident. He said that he decides who sits and who plays, not Gilbert, but he also made it clear that he didn't think this was a hilarious gag by a resurgent jokester.

"I went through the game last night, and the first time I heard about his comments, someone texted me last night at about 12:30," Saunders told Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro. "So that was more a surprise to me than anybody. My reaction was that was not what was told to me, that's why it was a situation that was handled very quickly, not only in front of Gilbert but in front of the whole team. Actions were taken, and then what you do at that point, we have to move on."

Saunders said Arenas was fined, but that no other punishment would be meted out. He said he made the decision to sit Arenas at shootaround, when Gilbert seemed to be having trouble moving around. He said the previous two practices had been tough and long, and it wouldn't have been unusual for Gilbert to be sore. But still, you can't lie.

"Believe it or not, Gilbert has been - in my two years here - the easiest guy that I've had to coach," Saunders said. "When I ask him to do something, he's done everything I've asked him to do from a player standpoint. I think at times, Gilbert can be his own worst enemy as far as talking too much. And I really believe this: he looks at being Nick's mentor, he likes to see Nick do good. But for him to make those comments, they're just unjustified type comments."

To their credit, Sheehan and Loverro wouldn't let this go, and Loverro finally let loose with this.

"How could he possibly not have the maturity at this point to realize the impact of saying that I committed a fraud so I could dictate who started?"

"That I can't answer," Saunders said. "All I can do is this, as I said to the team today...I don't question players as far as how they are from their health situation....For somebody sitting out there, do they maybe get frustrated [by Arenas]? I'm sure people get frustrated hearing that. But from my standpoint, as I told our team, I trust all 14, 15 guys that are in that locker room. And so if someone says they're hurt, we move on and put someone else in there. As a player, as a professional athlete, you've got to put yourself in a position to understand that when you step away, whether it's an injury or whatever it is, you put yourself in a situation that someone else can take your spot. And so like I said, so we move on."

By Dan Steinberg  | October 13, 2010; 1:59 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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Comments

Was kind of hoping that he and Flip were on the same page and Gil was just jerking the media around.

I guess he thought people would give him credit for stepping aside for Nick Young? Otherwise why bring it up, if he doesn't go and brag to the media about letting Young play, nobody knows.

31 minutes, 0 rebounds, 0 assists = same old Nick Young. NY is so one dimensional he makes Yinka Dare look like a pass first point guard.

Posted by: tha_prophet | October 13, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Someone needs to tell me what the difference is with this incident and the dozens if not hundreds of times in NFL preseason that veterans sit out and the team claims it's because of an injury (or to prevent further injury to those--not unlike Arenas--who are coming off surgeries).

The only difference as I see it is that Arenas made a comment to a reporter. Other than that, it's essentially the exact same thing as McNabb not playing in the final 2 preseason games "due to a sore ankle" even though he himself said he was healthy enough to play.

"But for him to make those comments, they're just unjustified type comments." -Flip Saunders

It is not clear at all from the Saunders interview that he is upset with Arenas for faking an injury in preseason--or even if he really did fake an injury. What the coach seems upset about is Arenas commenting to a reporter about it.

Posted by: Barno1 | October 13, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm usually an advocate of Gil but I can't endorse lying to your coach and then telling everyone (media) except your coach that you were lying. Whether there was good intent behind his actions or not, this action cannot be condoned. It's blatant undermining of the coach and team -- preseason or not.

Posted by: fushezzi | October 13, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Gil supporter and backed Gil on this until the press got varification on what happened. What Gil did was just plain stupid. If you are a Gil hater, then there is nothing to be said. The way I look at it is that Gil is going to be the best 2 guard in the league. He prepares himself as well as anyone in the game. I don't hold his knee injury against him. I sortof feel like the press wants to villify him if he is not perfect or doesn't act they way he wants them to. But as a fan, I don'tthink he crossed any lines that puts him in the villain category. Saunders was pissed and took whatever action he thought appropriate and that's where it should stay. There are alot of self righteous people out there. I'm glad they aren't friends of mine because I couldn't handle the scrutiny. Peace brothers!

Posted by: bobilly2 | October 13, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Sure, I wouldn't condone disrespecting your coach either if that's what happened (still not clear tho). But even the greatest players make mistakes in their relationship with their head coach. I recall Sean Taylor used to not take HOF coach Joe Gibbs' calls...but this town was somehow able to got over their anger and outrage over it.

Posted by: Barno1 | October 13, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

In short, use better judgment Gil....but this is no big deal and definitely not worthy of being on the WaPo or ESPN front page. Move on people...non-story.

Posted by: fushezzi | October 13, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Thom Loverro hates Gilbert. You would think Arenas did something to his family.

Posted by: spades72 | October 13, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Just so we're clear on this, the list goes:

1. October 12, 2010
2. September 11, 2001
3. December 7, 1941

Right?

Posted by: bryc3 | October 13, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"Someone needs to tell me what the difference is with this incident and the dozens if not hundreds of times in NFL preseason that veterans sit out and the team claims it's because of an injury (or to prevent further injury to those--not unlike Arenas--who are coming off surgeries."

The difference Barno is that none of those NFL veterans were coming off of a felony conviction and 50 game suspension.

Posted by: briffy | October 13, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"Someone needs to tell me what the difference is with this incident and the dozens if not hundreds of times in NFL preseason that veterans sit out and the team claims it's because of an injury (or to prevent further injury to those--not unlike Arenas--who are coming off surgeries."

The difference Barno is that none of those NFL veterans were coming off of a felony conviction and 50 game suspension.

Posted by: briffy | October 13, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Briffy, I think you just hit the nail on the head. The gun incident has given the media a license to blow every single potential indiscretion way out of proportion. Just look at Wilbon's column. Arenas has a beard now and says he's not going to smile anymore, so Wilbon uses that as an excuse to say "Arenas must go." Pathetic.

Posted by: Barno1 | October 13, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Just like DT11, he didnt get it then, and he doesnt get it now. What a millstone around this franchaise's neck for the next 4 years.

Posted by: northvajim2 | October 13, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah...JUST like Devin Thomas. What are you talking about? Thomas was lazy and never worked for anything. He also never gave the team any type of production. Arenas on the other hand will give this team 20+ a night along with close to 10 assists and a chance at the playoffs. Stop hating!

Posted by: Wizbullets88 | October 13, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Gilbert is just jerking the media around because he can. The media is so hungry to get a story about Gilbert not fitting in that they almost forgot the Wizards won (BIG) against Atlanta. So what if Jamal Crawford did not play, neither did Gil, so it was a push. I love it when the media gets jerked like idiots by an idiot! As long as they are winning, who cares. Of course once they start losing then that is another story, but for now the story should be about how this team may actually be better than most people give them credit for, even with Gilbert.

Posted by: JohnWWW | October 13, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Go Google "Immature Personality Disorder".... It's Gil to a tee.

Posted by: LaureninGlenBurnie | October 13, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

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