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Wizards Report Card: Etan Thomas

Etan Thomas worked incredibly hard to get back into basketball condition after undergoing open heart surgery early last season but had his comeback cut short by a knee injury and has now essentially lost two seasons.

He appeared in 26 games with seven starts and wound up averaging 3.1 points and 2.5 rebounds in 11.8 minutes. The Wizards were very open to trading Thomas before the deadline but couldn't find a deal that worked or made sense and will likely go into the summer shopping him and his expiring contract at every turn. That's not a knock on Etan, it's just the business of the game.

With Brendan Haywood coming back, JaVale McGee developing and Andray Blatche providing a guy who can swing between the 4 and the 5, it's hard to see where Thomas fits on this roster going forward.

As for a grade, I'll give him an incomplete because he never really had a chance to establish himself this season. I'll say this: You have to give it to the guy for the way he worked to get back after the heart surgery. He could've just sat back and collected his money and nobody could have questioned the man. Instead, the guy was out there busting it to get back on the court.

-Quick note: I'm not on the current four-game road trip that opens in Utah tonight for budget reasons. Michael Lee will be covering later road games, however, as he gets back into the beat writing groove.


By Ivan Carter  |  March 17, 2009; 12:31 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards Report Card  
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Next: Road Trip: One Down, Three to Go

Comments

Does that mean the Post will not have a beat writer at any of the next 4 games?

Posted by: read2 | March 17, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

EG overpaid to keep Etan during a year when bigs were in short supply and Etan had a solid offer from the Bucks, as I recall. It was a relatively rare case of EG throwing too much money after a player who was being courted by other teams. In my view, even prior to these injuries, he was a guy who lacked the size to be a consistent defensive presence and lacked the skills to be an offensive threat. His hustle and heart are commendable, but I don't see a future for him with the Wiz (other than to package in a trade) or anywhere else.

Posted by: jweber1 | March 17, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

The Wizards haven't developed their young talent this year and the coaches love veterans, so next year it will be:

Arenas, Stevenson, Butler, Jamison, Haywood as starters,

with Thomas, James and Songaila coming off the bench.

Unfortunately, it will be another 1 and out with these veterans; if they are lucky.

Obvious to the rest of us (excluding Derag, Samson, Jone-sy and Kallie), there is a better way.

Posted by: Izman | March 17, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Always a delicate situation when Ivan discusses Etan, don't need anymore open letters from the Poet complaining about your reporting. I thought Ivan handled this pretty well though, even if it does appear he's hesitant to levy any criticism on the guy.

So I'll say it: Etan Thomas has been the biggest bust of the Grunfeld era in DC and the Wizards wouldn't be shopping him around if he was still a servicable NBA center. Problem is, he is not servicable anymore and really hasn't been in about 5 years (ever since he played his best ball at the end of the 03/04 season to get that big contract).

Etan has also been a cancer in the Wizards locker room at times, fighting on numerous occasions with Brendan Haywood (referring to him publicly as Brendan "TODD" Haywood, an obvious insult against what Etan perceived as a white person's middle name) and even exchanging punches with Haywood on a few occasions.

Etan has also been a cancer to the D.C. area, spreading hate to young, black children with his radical Afrocentric agenda. I don't care what your politics are, spreading hate to children is unacceptable from a pro athlete. And he has largely gotten a pass on this from the local media.

And while I am glad his heart condition has improved and don't wish injury upon anyone, I would like to be the first person to say so long Etan, don't let the door hit you on your way out.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 17, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

"The Wizards were very open to trading Thomas before the deadline ... and will likely go into the summer shopping him and his expiring contract at every turn. That's not a knock on Etan, it's just the business of the game."

Um, yes it is a knock on Etan. If your team is trying desperately to move you, it's because you are not earning your keep.

"You have to give it to the guy for the way he worked to get back after the heart surgery. He could've just sat back and collected his money and nobody could have questioned the man."

Um, ... really? He could have sat at home doing nothing, and no one would have said a peep? In the same town where Arenas has been rehabbing all season and some fans are out of their minds angry because he hasn't suited up to play in meaningless games?

Look, I'm glad Etan is healthy and I commend him for working to get back on the court. But for $7 million a year, isn't that what should be expected? He never lived up to this contract, even before the heart problem, he's the fourth highest paid player on the team, and about the team's 14th or 15th best player. He doesn't get a free pass because of his heart issue, and Etan doesn't seem like the kind of guy that would want one. He deserves a D.

I hope he can work this summer to be a contributor next year, for either the Wizards or another team, so that his NBA career doesn't end after this contract.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | March 17, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Being a man who has had his chest cracked - twice, my hat's off to you, ETAN. Valient effort. Don't know how you take the pain of having your chest pounded on with those wires in there. Gotta' hurt. You're a hell of a man for even trying in my book. Kudos, and good luck here or elsewhere with the rest of your basketball career.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 17, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I've been trying to read Ivan's chat, but the link is bad. Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks.

Posted by: westcoastwizard | March 17, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I've been trying to read Ivan's chat, but the link is bad. Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks.

Posted by: westcoastwizard | March 17, 2009 1:48 PM

Don't bother...

Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | March 17, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

WaPoLive -- do you say that because it is no longer available, or because nothing interesting was said? I suspect the latter, but was just wondering....

Posted by: westcoastwizard | March 17, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

You see, I've never liked Etan Thomas. I would always cringe when he came into a game or started. Any good Team chemistry that the Wizards had was immediately sabotaged.

Even though Haywood was not the dominant center that everybody wanted, he was a way better fit than Thomas was. And to see Thomas continually get more favorable treatment than Haywood was a cancer to me.

Only Thomas's injuries brought to light the fact that Haywood was actually better all along than Thomas.

I keep coming back to that season when Ernie won the Allstar coaching nomination.

Lest we forget that Thomas started that season injured and Haywood got most of the center minutes. This was one of the best half a season that the Wizards had. However, as the first half ended Etan was healthy again and he of course started to take more and more minutes from Haywood.

Allstar break comes, Etan is getting dominant minutes, Ernie annouces new focus to Defense, Gilbert squabbles and the rest is history.

If we can't trade him, he can have any slot 13-15 on the Team next year. It is all he deserves.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 17, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

He played hard.

Posted by: MEssex | March 17, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Etan has also been a cancer to the D.C. area, spreading hate to young, black children with his radical Afrocentric agenda. Posted by: Barno1 | March 17, 2009 1:25 PM

What is that all about?????

Posted by: VBFan | March 17, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

izman: "The Wizards haven't developed their young talent this year and the coaches love veterans...Obvious to the rest of us (excluding Derag, Samson, Jone-sy and Kallie), there is a better way."

Shouted the doting parent at the Little League coach: "You shmuck, you can't take my son out of the game. It's your fault he doesn't know which base path to run up. You're supposed to coach him."

Posted by: Samson151 | March 17, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not on the current four-game road trip that opens in Utah tonight for budget reasons."

The Post is now 75 cents at the newsstand and they've lost a third of their advertisers.

Craigslist destroyed their classified ads and Kaplan Learning is the only thing keeping the Post afloat

Posted by: nativedc | March 17, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"Etan has also been a cancer to the D.C. area, spreading hate to young, black children with his radical Afrocentric agenda. Posted by: Barno1 | March 17, 2009 1:25 PM"

I always liked the guy. He's definitely got his own viewpoint and doesn't care too much who hears it. Coming back from heart surgery -- how many NBA players have succeeded at that? Too bad, too, for a player Michael Jordan once said was among the NBA's more talented.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 17, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

"-Quick note: I'm not on the current four-game road trip that opens in Utah tonight for budget reasons. Michael Lee will be covering later road games, however, as he gets back into the beat writing groove."

Is the post that broke Ivan? Or is it because you are leaving them soon they don't care to pay to fly you around in their last week?

Posted by: dante232 | March 17, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse


Dante322: The Post is not broke, far from it actually. But the latter part of your statement is clearly the case. Ivan is leaving the Post, and the Wizards SUCK. Put those two together, and why the F would the execs at the Post pay Ivan to fly around the West coast and stay at hotels? Makes no sense. If Ivan were not leaving, and the Wiz were in the hunt, do you think he would not be going? I highly doubt the Post is telling Tarik to “stay at home” during Capitals road trips.

Posted by: cj658 | March 17, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I guess I don't get the criticism of Thomas, unless it's just failing to meet expectations. The guy's been a model citizen (you don't see coaches complaining about him) and he's done an amazing thing coming back from major cardiac surgery. Of course, he was never any good again, but still, it's a gutsy thing. A lot of fans would argue that Alonzo Mourning wasn't any good after his surgery, either.

The thing with Haywood -- come on, you had two guys trying to get into each others' heads to gain a competitive advantage. How do you think Clinton Portis kept Willis McGahee (a more talented player) on the bench at Miami? Thomas was three inches shorter and for a center, that's a big gap to close.

We've got this habit of judging players by the amount of money they make. That's a better standard for judging GMs and owners who were dumb enough to throw the cash at them. This isn't AIG, and that's not taxpayer funds.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 17, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I am also waiting for Ivan’s final blog post, finally admitting that he is the blogger known as “kalo_rama”. Would be a nice way to go out. Come out of the closet Ivan. Time has come.

Posted by: cj658 | March 17, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

RE Etan's Report Card:

Final 2008-09 Grade: Incomplete

I'll never forget watching Etan Thomas snatch rebound after rebound in Game 5 against Cleveland during the 2007 Eastern Conference Playoffs. Had a couple power dunks and a few blocks too. He battled against a much taller Illgauskus (sp?) and the more athletic tandem of Verajao and Gooden the whole game and helped fuel a furious 3rd quarter comeback. (Quick aside: The Phone Booth was going CRAZY by the end of the 3rd quarter! Absolutely nuts! I remember being on my feet almost the whole time. EVERYBODY in the building was into it. Man, how quickly things have changed...) He set manly screens unlike Haywood (by the end of the 06-07 he was thisclose to pouting his way outta town) who couldn't even be bothered to make contact with the Cleveland defenders while setting his "screens."

Of course Etan missed a couple of key layups in the fourth quarter of that game and his "baby hook" shot (more like a prayer shot) was off the whole night. That night, Etan and the Wizards fell short and were sent packing from the first round of 2007 Playoffs by the hated Cavs (again). Ultimately, I think that game was a fair representation of Etan's time in Washington. Summed him up quite well. Etan Thomas played with passion, energy and toughness but he was ultimately limited by his flaws. He wasn't tall enough to be a true center. He wasn't the most athletic guy on the floor. He never developed offensively beyond a "rebound/ scorer" or "alley-oop dunker." And of course, Etan Thomas was tremendously overpaid.

But I'll tell you what, if Kwame Brown had Etan's toughness, Kwame would have been a much more productive player instead of an undisputed bust. If Brendan Haywood had Etan's heart, he would be averaging 17 and 10 (easy) instead of the career high 10 and 7 he averaged in 2007-08. If Andray Blatche could muster just half of the consistent effort that Etan brought to the table on a nightly basis then Blatche would be considered one of the Eastern Conference's up-and-coming forwards instead of a local enigma who tantalizes with brilliant flashes of talent and frustrates with bone-headed mistakes (often within the span of just three possessions).

If we have seen the last of Etan in a Wizards jersey then I wish him well. After next season, he'll probably never play in the NBA again. But the man played hard. Which is more than we can say about some of the current members on this putrid Wizards squad...

Posted by: MEssex | March 17, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Barno1:

Well said post above. I echo it. A lot of fans do not know the kind of crap that has came out of Etan’s mouth while in DC. He has been more active in the political world than on the court during his tenure. Pitiful. If the Wiz needed a liaison to the white house, or an anti-Bush statue they could have hired James Carville. If he’s such a philanthropist, he should give half of that unearned salary to the inner city kids. Not only did he vocally disagree with the previous administration’s policies, he attacked members of a certain political party on a personal level and said some nasty things, to children no less. It’s one thing to disagree, it’s quite another to devote most of your free time to it, and engage unfound personal attacks. He spent more of his time attacking political leaders and journalists (Ivan AND Knott) than he spent getting rebounds for the Wizards, and this is not including the time he missed due to injury.

All that said, I think it is wonderful he has fully recovered from surgery. I wish bad health on no man, no matter how much I may dislike him. It was a blessing to see him get back on the court, and be able to resume his life. But I must agree with Barno, it is time for him to go, and I highly doubt he will ever step on an NBA court again.

Posted by: cj658 | March 17, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

"I am also waiting for Ivan’s final blog post, finally admitting that he is the blogger known as “kalo_rama”. Would be a nice way to go out. Come out of the closet Ivan. Time has come.Posted by: cj658"

Highly unlikely. Ivan may be a better journalist, but Kalorama knows more basketball.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 17, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

cj658: "Not only did he [Etan Thomas] vocally disagree with the previous administration’s policies, he attacked members of a certain political party on a personal level and said some nasty things, to children no less. It’s one thing to disagree, it’s quite another to devote most of your free time to it, and engage unfound personal attacks."

Geez, sounds like Rush Limbaugh. How come political opponents can only see character flaws in one another, and not themselves?

Posted by: Samson151 | March 17, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

disgruntledfan: "He deserves a D"

OK. But what grade should we give you for that post?

And you haven't even had heart surgery...

Posted by: Samson151 | March 17, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with barno1's earlier observations. Strongly. The problem with media coverage of athletes and entertainers is that it fools the public into thinking that we actually KNOW these people. So we make casual assessments of their character based on soundbites, highlights, and reporters' observations. Even when we run into athletes and entertainers in public, we judge them based on small slices of information (he wears too much jewelry so he's a thug, he wears a suit after games and he's never in the clubs so he must be a family man). Perception seems to be reality with althletes and entertainers. So you hear or read some of his poetry (which you plainly disagree with) and you decide that he is a hate-filled man? C'mon...

Posted by: MEssex | March 17, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Geez, sounds like Rush Limbaugh. How come political opponents can only see character flaws in one another, and not themselves?

Rush Limbaugh? Hardly. Listen, I’m not saying I’m perfect, but if I were making 7 million per year to play basketball, my priorities would be on the court. Athletes hold themselves to higher standards. I kept my opinion very modest and simply stated facts. Etan’s vies are no secret. I want to reiterate that I have no problem with him being “political”, I do have a problem with the way he goes about expressing his views and the extremism of his views. He said some things to children that should have never been said, and he has wrote poems personally bashing others for their views. This is coming from a so-called “activist” who gets paid 7 million dollars to under produce and ride the pine. Yet he criticizes his country and the leaders of it. Personally, I find that to be insane. How many other countries could a guy with Thomas’ skill set go to, and earn that kind of money? Not many. He should thank his lucky stars he lives in this country, and should be praising this country every second he gets, whether he agrees with policies or not. Like I said, it’s one thing to disagree and voice your opinion, it’s another to go about it the way he did. I am sure he wasn’t complaining about the previous administration’s tax policies, now was he? Typical.

Posted by: cj658 | March 17, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Totally agree with the sentiments of a couple of you who have called out Etan "The Poet" on here for what he really is. Definitely good to see him healthy, but some of his politically-charged, hate-filled "activism" has been a real turn-off for a while now.

I'm not for telling athletes to just shut up and play, but some of his comments and things he has been involved in over the years have been out of line in my opinion. Yea, I guess the fact that at the same time he has been stealing paychecks and clogging the roster has intensified my negative view, but bottom line is I just want him outta here.

Posted by: SadieV | March 17, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

The irony of Etan's attacks on Tom Knott's racial animus is that Etan himself is a real racist. And a blatant one at that.

I'll never forget how he emphasized Brendan TODD Haywood's name. It wasn't black enough for him. Etan is such a despicable person, I honestly can't hardly wait until he is no longer a Wizard.

So long Etan, you won't be missed.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 17, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

He has also wrote nasty things about former coach Doug Collins.

Posted by: cj658 | March 17, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

SadieV: " Yea, I guess the fact that at the same time he has been stealing paychecks and clogging the roster has intensified my negative view, but bottom line is I just want him outta here. "

Samething can be said for MIKE 'JACK EM UP ' JAMES!!!!!

Posted by: rf2litenva | March 17, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

"Etan has also been a cancer to the D.C. area, spreading hate to young, black children with his radical Afrocentric agenda."

Seriously, shut the f%%k up with that ignorant nonsense.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 17, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Rush Limbaugh? Hardly. Listen, I’m not saying I’m perfect, but if I were making 7 million per year to play basketball, my priorities would be on the court. Athletes hold themselves to higher standards. I kept my opinion very modest and simply stated facts. Etan’s vies are no secret. I want to reiterate that I have no problem with him being “political”, I do have a problem with the way he goes about expressing his views and the extremism of his views. He said some things to children that should have never been said, and he has wrote poems personally bashing others for their views. This is coming from a so-called “activist” who gets paid 7 million dollars to under produce and ride the pine. Yet he criticizes his country and the leaders of it.

-------------------------------------------

If that doesn't describe Limbaugh........someone who is paid millions to use the free airways to spread his politically-charged, hate-filled and extreme "activism". I don't know about you but hoping that an administration will fail is being disloyal to your country; borderline traitor. If Limbaugh can spread his hatred with impunity then no one should have a problem with ET expressing his opinion.

Posted by: no_turning_back | March 17, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

And what, exactly (and by exactly, I mean word-for-word with verifiable references) is this so-called "hate" Thomas was supposedly spreading to Black children in D.C.?

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 17, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

"I'll never forget how he emphasized Brendan TODD Haywood's name. It wasn't black enough for him."

As opposed to "Brendan," which is full-on ghetto handle, right? Please.

The simple fact is you're projecting your own racial issues onto what was simply a silly grown-up version of a playground taunt. It's pretty clear who has the race issues here and it's not Thomas.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 17, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

MEssex, well said. Thanks for adding some common sense and reason to the discussion.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 17, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Etan has also been a cancer to the D.C. area, spreading hate to young, black children with his radical Afrocentric agenda. I don't care what your politics are, spreading hate to children is unacceptable from a pro athlete. And he has largely gotten a pass on this from the local media.

And while I am glad his heart condition has improved and don't wish injury upon anyone, I would like to be the first person to say so long Etan, don't let the door hit you on your way out.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 17, 2009 1:25 PM

As the father of a young African American college student, Etan Thomas represents the antithesis of what young black atheletes are viewed as. Whether you are a fan of his basketball ability is one thing but to denigrate the young man as a negative influence is disingenuous. Eta is an articulate, well sopoken young man and one odf the few NBA players to openly express views of positivity and awareness about the political process.


Your comments would be better served for Gilbert Arenas, who publiclty stated in the Washington Post why waste the time to vote (paraphrasing). Now that is a negative comment for any young American male to hear. Your comments are ignorant and misguided.

Posted by: NewManagement | March 17, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Well put NewManagement. As WE know, anyone who is pro-black is feared by the establishment.

Posted by: no_turning_back | March 17, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

I just think folks need to distinguish between sport (what happens in between the lines) and politics. I think it is hypocritical to say on the one hand: "I think it is ok for [fill in the blank] to express their political views." Then on the other hand, slam that same that same person for expressing political views you disagree with. Can't have it both ways folks...

I think the root of the general contempt for Etan Thomas is that he is tremendously overpaid for the production he has provided. I get that. Etan's contract has hamstrung this franchise for the past 3-4 seasons now. His contract is the pink elephant in the room when Wiz fans lament the loss of Roger Mason Jr. via free agency. I get it. Etan Thomas is overpaid. But to imply that he is not entitled to express his political views because he is getting (over)paid to play basketball for a living is simply absurd. Besides, even if you agreed with Etan's politics, it still wouldn't make him anything more than the mediocre center that he is (was)...

Posted by: MEssex | March 17, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

disgruntledfan: "He deserves a D"

OK. But what grade should we give you for that post? And you haven't even had heart surgery...

Posted by: Samson151 | March 17, 2009 4:26 PM

Samson -- I assume these grades are being given based on a player's contribution to the team, compared to how much they are being paid. If the grades are to be given based on effort, ability to overcome obstacles, and toughness without regard to any contribution, then Etan gets an A. Michael Ruffin, too.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | March 17, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

'I assume these grades are being given based on a player's contribution to the team, compared to how much they are being paid."

There's nothing in Ivan's post that implies the grades include any judgment based on a player's salary.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 17, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

There's nothing in Ivan's post that implies the grades include any judgment based on a player's salary.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 17, 2009 8:22 PM
------
Actually, Ivan did take into account Dixon's salary when he graded him a C. Therefore, the original poster is generally right, though Ivan didn't reiterate that disclosure during this review...

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/wizardsinsider/2009/03/wizards_report_card_juan_dixon.html

Posted by: -CN- | March 17, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

"Therefore, the original poster is generally right, though Ivan didn't reiterate that disclosure during this review..."

Just because Ivan took salary into account with Dixon doesn't automatically mean he did so in the case of Thomas. As I said, there's nothing in Ivan's post about Thomas that says he's taking his salary into account when evaluating him, whatever he wrote about Dixon.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 17, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Just because Ivan took salary into account with Dixon doesn't automatically mean he did so in the case of Thomas. As I said, there's nothing in Ivan's post about Thomas that says he's taking his salary into account when evaluating him, whatever he wrote about Dixon.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 17, 2009 8:52 PM
--------
At least copy my entire post. I made that very same disclosure that Ivan did not make that reference to Etan Thomas...

Posted by: -CN- | March 17, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

True Etan has heart, but he is not worth 7 million a year, man, I miss Roger Mason. On the other hand , he did hustle back and tried to help the team, he can't help it , that those knuckleheads tried to make him a center, when at best a forward . We have another individual, that we paid so much money for, we could have gotten two top players for that amount. So b4 we beat up Etan for his contract. We got 100 million ridin the pine....Thanks Management

Posted by: veteranSquared | March 17, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Debacle at the fullest...Les BouleS that be...

Now, the Washington Post is too cheap to send the short timer beat reporter out for a 4 game meaningless road trip..

First class, all the way.

That's why I will be canceling my 17 year Wash Post subscription.

Why should we pay more for less?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 17, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Your comments would be better served for Gilbert Arenas, who publiclty stated in the Washington Post why waste the time to vote (paraphrasing). Now that is a negative comment for any young American male to hear. Your comments are ignorant and misguided.

Posted by: NewManagement | March 17, 2009 6:09 PM

You're not serious are you? If Gilbert Arenas doesn't follow politics, doesn't know the issues, and doesn't know the candidates than of course he should not vote. The only reason we have "rock the vote" campaigns is to get young, impressionable and often liberal-leaning Americans to the polls. It has nothing to do with being patriotic. If you don't know the issues, don't vote. It's that simple.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 17, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

The simple fact is you're projecting your own racial issues onto what was simply a silly grown-up version of a playground taunt. It's pretty clear who has the race issues here and it's not Thomas.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 17, 2009 6:00 PM

Kalo_rama, I've respected your opinions on basketball issues but this kind of attack is beneath you. I hold absolutely no racial animus whatsoever and nothing I have said suggests otherwise. Many people have interpreted Etan's comments to be racially charged, I am not alone in my interpretation. And Afrocentrism IS racist in nature, if you're claiming otherwise I'd like to see you make that argument.

Good luck with that.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 17, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

And what, exactly (and by exactly, I mean word-for-word with verifiable references) is this so-called "hate" Thomas was supposedly spreading to Black children in D.C.?

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 17, 2009 5:57 PM

Telling black children that Republicans don't like you IS hateful and pitifully ignorant. Whether he is well-intentioned or not, does not change the fact that he is spreading ignorance. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 17, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Kalorama,

How would you feel if Pecherov were going around telling white children at private schools in DC to watch out for black people, that they don't like white kids. How would you feel about Pech then?

Hmmm....

Posted by: Barno1 | March 17, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

If you don't participate in the political process you have no right to complain about what you get, and you deserve it. Try to be informed, and become active if possible whatever your proclivities. AMERICA needs its citizens to tune in, not tune out. Every vote counts. If BUSH-GORE didn't convince AMERICA of that nothing will. Its still a wonderful country. Participation in the political process is necessary to keep it that way.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 17, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

If you don't participate in the political process you have no right to complain about what you get, and you deserve it. Try to be informed, and become active if possible whatever your proclivities. AMERICA needs its citizens to tune in, not tune out. Every vote counts. If BUSH-GORE didn't convince AMERICA of that nothing will. Its still a wonderful country. Participation in the political process is necessary to keep it that way.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 17, 2009 11:41 PM

GLawrence, we don't let everyone vote. There are certain, minimum standards of trustworthiness and competence that are applied. We don't let minors, the mentally handicapped, or non citizens vote. We don't let some felons vote. So why then do we encourage EVERYONE else to vote? Look, I'm all for people learning the issues and finding out about the candidates, but if you don't follow a campaign, don't know the issues etc, then you really should not be encouraged to vote. Plain and simple.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 17, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

And what Gilbert Arenas said was actually admirable, it's just that so few people are willing to say such politically incorrect things in public.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 17, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

'Yet he criticizes his country and the leaders of it. Personally, I find that to be insane. How many other countries could a guy with Thomas’ skill set go to, and earn that kind of money? Not many. He should thank his lucky stars he lives in this country,'

Wow, actually, there are many places he could make that kind of money..playing overseas is becoming more and more popular. As to being lucky to live here, it's because he has the right to express his views. He's not spreading hate, but keeping it real with kids who have suffered the consequences of Republican ideology... war, lack of health care, unemployment. Give me a break; he is being Patriotic by trying to empower youth to use their words to express themselves. It's not about hate; it's about reality and suffering. He is a hero, and if noting else an artist..something Republicans are often uncomfortable with because they can't be controlled.

IN the meantime, back to sports, which is what this blog is about, Thomas is a real fighter and never took the easy road out. It doesn't mean he's a great baller, but he is a professional.. something rare in this town.

I guess if you stand for nothing (double zero), you can be an icon. Sad!!

Posted by: lk11 | March 17, 2009 11:55 PM | Report abuse

"And what Gilbert Arenas said was actually admirable, it's just that so few people are willing to say such politically incorrect things in public.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 17, 2009 11:52 PM "

Don't give Gilby too much credit.

He's just talking out of his you know what again. Gilby don't vote, but ran out and got a few copies of the Post and a tattoo right after Obama won.

If you want to give someone credit for their stupidity, give some love to Josh Howard.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BqG9kjknVw

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 18, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

barno1: "GLawrence, we don't let everyone vote. There are certain, minimum standards of trustworthiness and competence that are applied. We don't let minors, the mentally handicapped, or non citizens vote. We don't let some felons vote. So why then do we encourage EVERYONE else to vote? Look, I'm all for people learning the issues and finding out about the candidates, but if you don't follow a campaign, don't know the issues etc, then you really should not be encouraged to vote. Plain and simple."

It's not plain, it's far from simple. There's no period at the end of the discussion, and the case isn't closed.

Maybe Etan's real contribution to Washington was he made people think, in spite of themselves.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 18, 2009 4:25 AM | Report abuse

Forget about Crouton's off-court social and political commentary. I don't really care if he's a genius or a moron or the next MLK or Marcus Garvey off-court. [I am curious how much of that $7MM/yr salary + endorsement $$ he donates to rectifying the issues he complains of though.]

What matters is on-court and locker room. Crouton and Brendan have had horrific, irreconcilable locker room issues, and the GM (and EJ) should have realized that they had to ship the sorrier player out.

Next, looking at on-court performance, Crouton is a bottom 1/4 of the NBA player - average defensive player and an absolute offensive nightmare (career avg): 18 min; 6 PPG; 51% FG (mostly dunks - the guy can't make a 7' jumper); 60% FT; .3 Stl; 1.1 Blk; 4.9 Reb; .3 Ast

Crouton can't shoot jumpers, can't shoot free throws, can't pass (no assts), and is an average defensive C or PF. Who would pay this clown $7MM/year? I could pick a equal or better player every year in the 2d round of the draft and pay them next to nothing (certainly late first round).

Brendan is clearly a better defensive player and was the obvious choice to stay. Instead, EG signed two mediocre players to huge contracts.

I was ok with re-signing Brendan, but it's clear to me that JaVale might be the starting C by mid-season next year IF he hits the weights and develops a jumper in the offseason. JaVale is too talented to keep on the bench - blocks shots, moves execeptionally well on D and on the break for his size.

I like the following starters in an up-tempo offense:
Arenas
Butler
Jamison
Blatche
McGhee

I'd love to get Blake Griffin as the first sub in. LOSE, LOSE, LOSE!!! I am still steaming over the Kings win --- Tap is a moron.

Posted by: BulletsFan1 | March 18, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

BARNO1:

Like I said - don't vote, don't complain about what you get. Just shut up and take it whatever the eventuality is.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 18, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

BARNO1:

Like I said - don't vote, don't complain about what you get. Just shut up and take it whatever the eventuality is.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 18, 2009 8:46 AM

We agree 100% on this then.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 18, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Etan's real contribution to Washington was he made people think, in spite of themselves.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 18, 2009 4:25 AM

He made me think.....about what a pitifully ignorant human being he is.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 18, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

He made me think.....about what a pitifully ignorant human being he is.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 18, 2009 9:27 AM

You surely can't believe this intelligent, articulate, socially concious, family oreinted, extremely wealthy young man is either pitiful or ignorant.

Posted by: NewManagement | March 18, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Barno1: Once again, I agree with everything you have said. The analogy used with Pecherov was exactly what people like kalo_rama need to hear. It works both ways, but a lot of people tend to only see one angle. If Pech spoke like Etan did, he would be chastised as a racist and probably ran out of town. But instead we actually have fans calling Etan a “hero”. Unbelievable.

It would very interesting to see how much of his “free money” he has donated to the causes he so whole-heartedly believes in.

Posted by: cj658 | March 18, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

The irony of all this is that Etan has been such a pitiful basketball player, and has essentially stolen money from the organization. Tom Knott attacked Etan based on his lack of production, basically saying that Etan is not living up to his contract and should be less concerned with politics and more concerned with playing basketball (living up to his contract). Etan responded by publically bashing Knott, saying Knott is just a right-wing reporter who is blinded by reality. Classy comeback Etan.

Etan even attacked Ivan for his coverage during his health issues. Once again, Ivan was simply doing his job. When you earn 7 mill a year for doing nothing, you should have thicker skin, and realize that you will be scrutinized heavily by the media, it comes with the territory, especially when you under-produce to the pathetic level that Etan has.

Case in point, Tom Knott and Ivan were just doing their jobs. Maybe if Etan just did his job(be a decent basketball player), nobody would be having this conversation.

Posted by: cj658 | March 18, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

barno1: "We don't let minors, the mentally handicapped, or non citizens vote. We don't let some felons vote. So why then do we encourage EVERYONE else to vote?"

Because there's no grounds on which to exclude them. And I have to wonder why you would want to. Voting is important in a democracy. It's how you know what the people want. The lower the turnout, the less likely the election reflects that elusive goal, 'the will of the people.'

barno1: "Look, I'm all for people learning the issues and finding out about the candidates, but if you don't follow a campaign, don't know the issues etc, then you really should not be encouraged to vote."

Of course you should. For most of us, voting is the only way we'll ever be able to influence the decisions made by those in political power.

Now in American politics, high turnouts traditionally favor one party over the other, so there might be some practical value in encouraging a low turnout...

Attrtibuted to Adlai Stevenson, when a woman told him that every intelligent person would vote for him: "Madam, it's not enough. I need a majority."

Posted by: Samson151 | March 18, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

cj658: "The irony of all this is that Etan has been such a pitiful basketball player, and has essentially stolen money from the organization. Tom Knott attacked Etan based on his lack of production, basically saying that Etan is not living up to his contract and should be less concerned with politics and more concerned with playing basketball (living up to his contract). Etan responded by publically bashing Knott.."

OK, Tom Knott publically bashed Etan, who responded by publically bashing Knott right back. Where's the contradiction? What are you supposed to do when you feel you've been unfairly bashed in public? An act of contrition?

For what? For not playing well? For being overpaid?

It's not like he had a medical problem of some severity or anything.

You don't like the guy's political views. Or the way he expresses them. So you express your views.

He's got the same rights you do.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 18, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

OK, Tom Knott publically bashed Etan, who responded by publically bashing Knott right back. Where's the contradiction? What are you supposed to do when you feel you've been unfairly bashed in public? An act of contrition?

Samson151, you’re kidding me right? You normally make a lot of sense, but you fell off the deep end on this one. It is Tom Knott’s JOB to criticize, critique, and sometimes even bash players. That is what reporters do. His job is not to sugarcoat everything, and throw rose pedals under Etan’s feet. Is that what honest reporters do? Etan’s job is to play basketball, and not worry about what writers and journalists think of him. He gets paid 7 million for a reason. Like I said, it comes with the territory. Do you think Kobe takes the time to respond to journalists who bash him? How about LBJ or DWade? Do you honestly think they get into “back and forths” with the local media in their respective cities? Give me a break Samson151. When you are in the spotlight, it comes with the territory. I guess Etan is just “different” from everyone else. He decides to attack a reporter who makes a FRACTION of what he makes, and calls him a “blinded right-wing journalist”, simply because he was called out for his lack of production. Comical. And people like you actually defend ignorant actions. What do you have to say for yourself?

Posted by: cj658 | March 18, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Hey Samson151, did you hear about Pecherov?

Pech publically bashed Ivan Carter on his blog. He was upset with Ivan for criticizing him, and his production. He called Ivan an ignorant left-wing reporter who works for a newspaper with a clear liberal agenda.

How does that sound to you, Samson? Would you be singing to the same tune if this were the case? I highly doubt it, my friend. But like you said “he has the same rights I do”, so if Pech said this, it wouldn’t be a problem, right?? Huh Samson???

Posted by: cj658 | March 18, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

SAMSON151:

I may not agree on all things WIZARDS, but you and I surely see eye-to-eye on AMERICA's citizens and their rights to vote.

Those rights were hard earned. Ever hear the expression "Free, white and 21?" Add property owner to the litany and you have the highly restrictive core of citizens determining the country's collective fate in the late-1700's when the Constitution of the United States was first adopted. As BARNO1 has pointed out, its still not universal, but for those eligible citizens who may participate, it does carry with it the priviledge to vote.

My contention is its every ELIGIBLE citizen's RESPONSIBILITY to vote - hopefully, as informed a vote as one can possibly achieve, given the time and information constraints placed upon individuals by daily life.

FREE carries a price, and not just one to defend the Constitution by being in the military, in one of the plethera of government watch-dog agencies, as an EMT or firefighter.

Every individual in a democracy who's eligible to vote and exercises that responsibility is defending AMERICA just as much as anyone serving in those areas of our government.

Others will not agree, but that's how I see my right to vote - as a reponsible citizen.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 18, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

O-o-ps, left off 'male" in that list of restrictions on the right to vote in 1789.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 18, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse


I will give Etan credit for working hard to play for the team, there are other players...(Allan Houston) who didn't even try to come back during their injuries. I'll grade him a "D" he was out the season prior and he's an undersized big man where is only strength is under the board, particularly on the defensive side.

Yea, in hindsight, Ernie overpaid for him and now the team is stuck with a guy with a trade kicker on Etan's contract so it would be really hard to move him.

Posted by: rcnasa | March 18, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

cj658:"It is Tom Knott’s JOB to criticize, critique, and sometimes even bash players. That is what reporters do. His job is not to sugarcoat everything, and throw rose pedals under Etan’s feet. Is that what honest reporters do? Etan’s job is to play basketball, and not worry about what writers and journalists think of him. He gets paid 7 million for a reason. Like I said, it comes with the territory. Do you think Kobe takes the time to respond to journalists who bash him? How about LBJ or DWade? Do you honestly think they get into “back and forths” with the local media in their respective cities? Give me a break Samson151."

Let's deconstruct this a bit.

"It is Tom Knott’s JOB to criticize, critique, and sometimes even bash players. That is what reporters do."

It might be what reporters do, but it's not the job. The reporter's job is to report the news fairly, accurately, and with some degree of objectivity. When a reporter steps outside that role -- in an editorial or an opinion piece -- he's become a critic. And critics are fair game.

For instance, I thought the blowback the Wapo got for the article on Maryland's recruiting was excessive. Their reportage was a lot more objective than Knott's piece. But them's the breaks, right? Speak your mind, step outside the neutral role, expect the blowback.

"Etan’s job is to play basketball, and not worry about what writers and journalists think of him. He gets paid 7 million for a reason."

Should I point out that he did play basketball, and ostensibly to the best of his (somewhat limited) ability? I bet if you check his contract, there's no clause prohibiting him from worrying about what writers and journalists think of him.

I imagine Etan -- or Charles Barkley, or TO, or a host of other outspoken athletes -- would argue that they get paid for playing, not for keeping their mouths shut.

I just think you're applying a double standard to Etan Thomas, who didn't give up his right to free speech when he became a ball player. We may not like it, but then I don't like some of the stuff I read on this blog either. Tough toenails for me, is my point.


Posted by: Samson151 | March 18, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

cj658: "Pech publically bashed Ivan Carter on his blog. He was upset with Ivan for criticizing him, and his production. He called Ivan an ignorant left-wing reporter who works for a newspaper with a clear liberal agenda. How does that sound to you, Samson?"

I'd consider the source, and move on to the next post. No way I'd try to suppress Pech's right to express his opinion.

Like the wag said: there's no law against stupidity. So we're all legally protected.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 18, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

This is the sports section, not the political blogosphere. I will say this...if you don't like Etan's political views, that is your prerogative, but that has nothing to do with his $7 mil salary or on-court performance.

(Though personally, I love it when Republicans decry someone from the other side for hate and fear mongering).

Etan certainly has not lived up to his contract, but it wasn't out of line with what even limited big men get, because they are seen as necessary but scarce commodities. Look at the contracts of Stromile Swift, Nazr Mohammed, Dasagna Diop, Dampier, Jeff Foster, Darko, Mark Blount, Juwan, Brian Cardinal, etc, etc, etc. Even Kwame is still making $4 mil. The contracts suck, but they are the market-value as determined by owners and GMs. And the fact that the contracts increase in yearly salary over the life of the contract always make them seem worse at the end of the contract then at the beginning.

People who talk about Brendan being a clearly better player -- which he is now -- are forgetting what he used to play like back then, when, given ample opportunity, he played so soft we were calling him "Brenda". Etan always brought hustle and toughness to a team that frequently lacked (and lacks) both. I think you can make the argument that Brendan might not be the decent player he is now without the confrontations with Etan. Obviously Etan's heart ailment set him back, as does playing on a less-talented team now, where his limitations are more exposed.

The fact remains that Etan has always been limited as a player and no longer has a place on this team. McGee, McGuire, and Blatche can make better use of those minutes. So Etan's fate is likely that of many other players whose contract far outweighs their intrinsic value, getting traded for what their absence will provide...cap relief. Heopfully the Wiz will be able to trade his contract in a way that will allow them to keep whatever draft pick they get.

Etan always works hard, practices hard and plays hard, and he signed and exceuted his contract in good faith. He busted his tail to come back from open-heart surgery. I don't recall him getting arrested on weapons charges, drug charges, reckless speeding, soliciting prostitutes, fathering a multitude of children or any of the other varied maladies of current NBA players. He got into a couple of well-publicized fights with Haywood, but I seem to recall those went both ways (I wonder if Haywood has those 'locks he pulled out mounted on his wall), and were more based on competition than 'afrocentrism'.

So if we're grading Etan's performance, I think you have to give him an A for effort, a mitigated D for production, and leave the rest of it for a different forum.

Posted by: ts35 | March 18, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

You know what? After reading these posts it is clear that Etan's legacy in Washington is that he challenged people's perceptions of what an athlete should be. Amazing how a "report card" blog entry has evolved into discussions about freedom of speech, voting rights, race relations, etc. No other current athlete (that I am aware of) elicits such disparate responses as Etan Thomas does.

I think we (Wizards fans) all agree that the man was average at best and egregiously overpiad. But I actually find many of these posts attacking Etan's character instructive because it provides an isnight into how low we as a culture have set the standard for our athletes. If an athlete shuts up, plays hard and above all else, appears modest then we celebrate that person. If an athlete has the audacity to express his political views then we either criticize him (especially if we disagree) or hail him as a hero (especially if we agree)...

Posted by: MEssex | March 18, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, great discussion - I generally don't like political/social commentary mixed with sports - nevertheless, that was an amazing string of dialogue, especially those that were sports related.

Etan's a polarizing figure - no question about that.

Posted by: BulletsFan1 | March 18, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Wow I knew Etan was a bit of a lefty, but after reading the spirited discussion I went out and googled a few things. Reading a number of things he wrote it's apparent Etan is certainly intelligent and articulate, but the remedies he suggests for what he dislikes about America are all backwards. He is certainly full of hate and not really knowledgeable other than in typical left wing, socialist dribble. Now I'll be certainly be glad when his contract is up and the door hits him on his behind.

Posted by: restonhoops | March 18, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

"Kalo_rama, I've respected your opinions on basketball issues but this kind of attack is beneath you. I hold absolutely no racial animus whatsoever [b]and nothing I have said suggests otherwise.[/b]"

Simply and unequivocally not true. Everything you've written says that you begrudge Etan Thomas his constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech based on the fact that he holds views on the issue of race that you cannot abide, and the underlying implications of your "shut and play" attacks on him are shot through with racial over and undertones based on his status as a wealthy Black athlete. Now, it may possible be that these things aren't true of you, but if that's the case you need to do a better job and find a better way to state your case, because everything you've said so far leads directly to that interpretation.

"Telling black children that Republicans don't like you IS hateful and pitifully ignorant. Whether he is well-intentioned or not, does not change the fact that he is spreading ignorance. The road to hell is paved with good intentions."


"How would you feel if Pecherov were going around telling white children at private schools in DC to watch out for black people, that they don't like white kids. How would you feel about Pech then?"

Your obvious attempt at creating a straw man to make your point is both transparent and threadbare.

Republicans are a politically motivated group of active participants with an agenda and a cause whose dynamics have at times (and there's no way any objective person could deny this) included elements, rhetoric, and actions that were quite clearly not advantageous (to say the least) for significant numbers of the Black population in this country. Now, that doesn't mean that all Republicans buy into the agenda at the same level or in the same way, but the point is, the agenda exists. Simple fact.

White/Black people, however, are just that. A bunch of people who, aside from the color of their skin, are not inherently of like minds, don't inherently constitute an active, politically motivated, agenda-driven block, and don't all tend to follow a unifying doctrine. Thomas' invocation of the former doesn't even come close to your (by proxy, using Pech) invocation of the latter. Apples and oranges.

Had Etan Thomas told a group of Black schoolchildren that White people didn't like them, then you might have a point. But the simple fact is that he didn't say that. And what he did say (or at least what you interpret him as saying) does not, in any meaningful way, shape or form, equate to him telling schoolchildren that they weren't liked by white people.

Not only did you twist his words to try (unsuccessfully) to paint them as a blanket racial condemnation, but you also went from "don't like" (in your restatement of his position) to "hate" (in your Pech fantasy). The difference, qualitatively, emotionally, and substantively, are quite obvious.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 18, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

"He is certainly full of hate and not really knowledgeable other than in typical left wing, socialist dribble."

Is that anything like the "crab dribble"?

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 18, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

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