Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: dcsportsbog and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Redskins and Sports  |  RSS
Posted at 11:41 AM ET, 01/ 5/2011

Wes Unseld, Peter Vecsey and the stripped Wizards tickets

By Dan Steinberg

(1979 AP Photo)


This week, a story cropped up about Wes Unseld's access to Wizards game. Since this story is slightly complicated, I'm going to go in stages.

Peter Vecsey's column

In a column about the NBA turning its back on some of its own, the New York Post's Peter Vecsey dropped this nugget:

Speaking of season tickets, you'd think Wizards owner Ted Leonsis would want as many hostages as he could take to fill the Verizon Center's crater of empty seats.

Instead, Wes Unseld was stripped of his season tickets. Apparently, the Hall of Fame center who played (MVP for the 1977-78 champions), coached and managed the team's front office for 40 years, didn't leave much of a lasting impression.

In the light of Ted Leonsis's well-publicized push to reconnect with the franchise's alumni, this seemed a shocking revelation.

Leonsis's Response

I e-mailed Leonsis on Tuesday to ask about this story. He expressed extreme surprise, saying he has given Unseld "carte blanche here to come to every game and park wherever he wants, same as the Pollin family. He wrote that Unseld attended a recent game and did a program with Leonsis in the Dewar's Club, that he was invited to the owner's box this Friday along with Bobby Dandridge and Kevin Grevey, and that there is a seat behind the basket that is "forever his."

"He isn't just a player -- he is legend and family," Leonsis wrote. "He is beloved and respected; he is family. He has the same invite as the Pollin family; our house is your house. Lifetime offer. Come anytime. Always welcome; lights are on for you."

Now, this seemed to be slightly at odd with Vecsey's nugget. When I e-mailed the Post columnist to ask about the seeming discrepancies, he suggested I get in touch with Unseld himself.

Unseld's Explanation

So getting in touch with Unseld was on my list of things to do, but before I could, he called into the Junkies to attempt to clear stuff up himself. Essentially, he said his tickets were part of a longstanding relationship with Abe Pollin, that he never expected they would convey after Pollin's death, and that he harbors no bad feelings toward Leonsis and has no idea where this story came from.

"Stripped me of my season tickets?" Unseld said. "He didn't strip me. I had no special rights to any season tickets. I always had season tickets, but that was Mr. Pollin, that had nothing to do with Mr. Leonsis. He never said [anything], and I never asked for tickets. So there's nothing. Guys, I haven't spoken to Peter Vecsey in 25 years, so I wouldn't know where he's getting this stuff. He didn't have to take them; they were already his....I don't know anything about taking tickets."

It is slightly confusing, since it does seem that where once he had tickets, now he doesn't. But Unseld repeatedly said that there is no story here, no ill will, and no stripping.

"Mr. Leonsis has a business to run, and nobody understands that better than I do," Unseld said. "He has to run his business however he thinks he has to run his business, so I don't take it as a personal affront. He and I have met on occasions, I've been over to do little things with him and for him, so there's no situation here....[Leonsis has] been very kind to me. So I've got no problem with any of that."

Wise Unloads

Mike Wise and Vecsey have a longstanding beef, which flared up last year during the Gilbert Arenas stuff. Vecsey wrote a column ripping Wise's reporting, and Wise then called Vecsey an "old, bitter man." So the Junkies attempted to bait Wise into ripping Vecsey on Wednesday, and he obliged after telling a story about how Vecsey once wrote that "He-Man Mike Wise" would "get his." Yes, this was said in jest.

"Let's put it this way: I'm not going to throw my career away over physically assaulting somebody," Wise said. "If someone tried to sneak punch me, I would defend myself. I wouldn't punch him back; I would get him on the ground and I would put my knees on his hands and I would ground and pound him for about three minutes. And I heard he was a Green Beret once; I really don't care. Vecsey's behind will be mine....I've heard so many good stories about Tony Kornheiser as a good person: I've never heard those stories about Peter Vecsey....Let's put it this way, Tony Kornheiser's not an evil human being. He has an evil side to him, but he's not an evil human being. But Peter Vecsey is Satan incarnate."

By Dan Steinberg  | January 5, 2011; 11:41 AM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: John Wall's Dougie makes ABC's Nightline
Next: Adam LaRoche is a Buck Commander

Comments

Did anyone at the W. Post attempt to contact Vecsey himself and ask him to explain the apparent disconnect? This is a strnange story...

Posted by: TheOtherGuyInSection117 | January 5, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Why would Vescey make up such a random story? He's not a DC writer, seems strange he would manufacture a story about a lowly team outside of NY. As for Wise, well, he has a habit of making enemies wherever he lands - usually other more established reporters (and readers). Maybe he needs to look himself in the mirror. I have no dog in that fight, but he strikes me as a dopy, annoying self promoter. I have a feeling older, more established media types see him in a similar light.

Posted by: dbunkr | January 5, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

ESPN has lobotomized Tony's evil side. That's why his radio show ain't what it used to be.

Posted by: rdpinva | January 5, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

The big picture here is that the Washington Post sat on the Gilbert Arenas gun story - allowing the New York Post to "scoop" them. From Watergate to covering up a story in their own backyard.

Posted by: nativedc | January 5, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

There are so many issues with this team(on the court)that a story like this hardly matters.I'm sure Wes Unseld knows he can come and go(to the Verizon Ctr.)as he pleases, Peter Vecsey loves stirring stuff up, why? because that's what he does and to give credence to that krap only emboldens him, as my mom use to say about people like that, "don't encourage him".

Posted by: dargregmag | January 5, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Nice of Vescey to get the word out, but why assume that there is anything untoward between Ted and Wes? Better still, why try to create it? Was it is a slow news day in NYC, so he needs to stir the pot in our city? The Wiz shipped their drama off to Orlando.

M. Wise? Just zip it.

Posted by: ljo211 | January 5, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone at the W. Post attempt to contact Vecsey himself and ask him to explain the apparent disconnect? This is a strnange story...

Posted by: TheOtherGuyInSection117 | January 5, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

umm..did you read this sentence? the Post columnist of whom he speaks is Vecsey..

Now, this seemed to be slightly at odd with Vecsey's nugget. When I e-mailed the Post columnist to ask about the seeming discrepancies, he suggested I get in touch with Unseld himself.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 5, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Who cares?

Posted by: aviator3 | January 5, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Someone needs to let Vescey know tha LaSooz is no longer running the franchise and he can let his old grudge fade away.

Posted by: zimbar | January 5, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

News flash: try reaching out to Leonsis. He shouldn't be that hard to track down.

Typical Post hack job.

Posted by: getjiggly2 | January 5, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

News flash: try reaching out to Leonsis. He shouldn't be that hard to track down.

Typical Post hack job.

Posted by: getjiggly2 | January 5, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

News flash: The blog post clearly states that Steinberg contacted Leonsis, and he quotes from Leonsis's email. There is a section of the article titled "Leonsis's Response".

Posted by: leathersjames | January 5, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Did you even read this part of the post, getj?


Leonsis's Response

I e-mailed Leonsis on Tuesday to ask about this story. He expressed extreme surprise, saying he has given Unseld "carte blanche here to come to every game and park wherever he wants, same as the Pollin family. He wrote that Unseld attended a recent game and did a program with Leonsis in the Dewar's Club, that he was invited to the owner's box this Friday along with Bobby Dandridge and Kevin Grevey, and that there is a seat behind the basket that is "forever his."

"He isn't just a player -- he is legend and family," Leonsis wrote. "He is beloved and respected; he is family. He has the same invite as the Pollin family; our house is your house. Lifetime offer. Come anytime. Always welcome; lights are on for you."


Talk about a "typical . . . hack job" . . .

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | January 5, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

arenas is gone,the gun stories are old hat,so let that shi- rest!wes unseld will always have access to verizon center,especially wizards games,so this too is a non-issue.if mike and peter got into it,i'de put my money on mike.he looks kind of crazy at times

Posted by: billydee123 | January 5, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

We love our hero's. Wes has been treated pretty darn good after his playing days. All the years in the organization collecting a check did not bring many rewards to the fans. I think many of the fans would gladly change their jobs for Unselds and the perks that are abundant. It is hard feeling sorry for lifetime multi-millionaires, hero's and celebrities. Great player, great employee, and fine man, but worrying about how he is going to pay for his Wizards tickets is crazy, he should have put a lifetime pair in his contract with the team if it was going to be important to him.

Posted by: 1bmffwb | January 5, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Wes and Ted make it clear, this is a non-story. Shows how desperate some media types are for attention. lol

Posted by: Hattrik | January 5, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I heard that Snyder took away Sammy Baugh's tickets. I know Snyder is a schmuck but come on! Actually I reacted to quickly. We all know that Snyder would sue Sammy instead.

Posted by: chopin224 | January 5, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I believe the "Post" that @jiggly was referring to was the New York Post, well known for their hack jobs.

Seriously folks, when there are two "Post" newspapers involved, can we please use complete names?

Posted by: nkeitt | January 5, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Whatever Vecsey had to say was completely negated by Ted's statement. There was absolutely no ambiguity in what Ted had to say. As far as a feud between Vecsey and WaPo's writers, well, they did get scooped badly on the Arenas story.

Posted by: randysbailin | January 5, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Vecsey is Kornheiser's evil orange haired N.Y. twin brother. However, Vecsey now sports a rag on his head and has chopped off his orange whiskers!

Posted by: Stevie-J | January 5, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

If Wise & Vecsey were engaged in a pissin' contest, it was probably more like a dribblin' contest.

Posted by: ubetonit | January 5, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I have a nickname for Steinberg: Mirrorman. He just reflects the jibjab back and forth and it's seriously entertaining.

Posted by: richs91 | January 5, 2011 6:13 PM | Report abuse

As avaitor3 says, who cares?

Posted by: RepealObamacareNow | January 5, 2011 6:50 PM | Report abuse

"Why would Vescey make up such a random story? He's not a DC writer, seems strange he would manufacture a story about a lowly team outside of NY."

Not when you consider how many times the story was cited in the media and on the Net. That's what Vescey aims for, that's how he justifies his salary. He's a professional sh** stirrer.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 6, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Plus now if Ted sends Wes a pair of season tix -- it's not like he doesn't have available seats -- Vescey can trumpet that he helped right a wrong in Washington.

Posted by: Samson151 | January 6, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Connecting the dots and reading between the lines, and knowing the relationship between Wes and Abe, this is probably what happened:

Wes had a standing arrangement with Abe (his surrogate Dad) to get as many tickets he wanted whenever he wanted them. Period. But given Pollin’s penchant for running his multibillion dollar company like a corner Mom-an-Pop store, there was probably never anything written down or recorded in a spreadsheet anywhere. It was either Wes calls Abe (or one of Abe’s cronies) asks for the tickets, gets the tickets or Abe gives issues standing orders to one of his cronies send Wes x number of tickets for every game. That’s it. Then Abe dies and Ted takes over, and because there was no actual official protocol in place, the whole thing just fell through the cracks. Ted’s cronies didn’t know anything about Abe’s arrangement with Wes, so the tickets stopped coming. And Wes being Wes, he didn’t make a thing of it, just figured it was the new boss getting his house in order and that was his right. No big deal, just a simple misunderstanding/disconnect.

Given how publicly, vocally, and actively Leonsis has been about embracing the team’s ties to its past (too much so, at times; I’m getting a little tired of having to mute the sound on games while Phil and Buck spend an entire quarter reminiscing with whatever Bullets great drops by rather than calling the game), the idea that he would maliciously issue a cutoff order on Wes seems kind of ridiculous.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 6, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company