Friday, December 12, 2003
Updated: December 13, 9:07 PM ET
Commish also calls comments 'hateful'
ESPN.com news services
NEW YORK -- Rasheed Wallace called out the NBA, but commissioner David Stern doesn't seem interested in listening.
One day after Wallace accused the league of profiteering off of young, black players, Stern issued the following statement:
"Mr. Wallace's hateful diatribe was ignorant and offensive to all NBA players," he said. "I refuse to enhance his heightened sense of deprivation by publicly debating with him. Since Mr. Wallace did not direct his comments at any particular individuals other than me, I think it best to leave it to the Trail Blazers organization -- and its players and fans -- to determine the attitudes by which they wish to be defined."
Blazers officials declined to comment on any actions planned
"I agree with the commissioner that there is no reason to
continue the public debate on the matter," team president Steve
Patterson said in a statement.
The Portland Trail Blazers forward suggested on Thursday that the NBA exploits young athletes simply to enrich itself.
"I ain't no dumb-ass n----- out here. I'm not like a whole
bunch of these young boys out here who get caught up and captivated
into the league," Wallace, 29, said in an interview in The Oregonian. "No. I see behind the lines.
I see behind the false screens. I know what this business is all
about. I know the commissioner of this league makes more than
three-quarters of the players in this league."
Wallace added that teams are drafting high school players
because they want athletes who are "dumb and dumber."
"Rasheed's comments in The Oregonian do not reflect the beliefs
of our organization," Blazers spokesperson Mike Hanson said.
"That's why they're drafting all these high school cats,
because they come into the league and they don't know no better.
They don't know no better, and they don't know the real business,
and they don't see behind the charade."
Wallace told the paper he is aware of his status among the fans, some who have
said they will not renew their season tickets unless Wallace is
traded. They see him as the prime example of everything that has
gone wrong with the team in recent years.
"I know I'm Public Enemy No. 1. Fifty percent [of the fans]
hate me and 50 percent love me no matter what I do," Wallace said.
"I can't worry about that. If you're not part of my inner circle
of family, it don't matter."
Wallace also said he's not concerned with NBA officials, who
whistled him for a record 41 technical fouls in 2000-01.
"That's just the fire in me. Some of the technicals I deserved.
Cussing at the officials or throwing something," he said. "But
some of them I didn't deserve.
"I'm not scared of the NBA. I'm not scared of the NBA
officials. If I feel as though myself or my teammates have been
dealt a wrong hand, I'm going to let it be known. I'm not going to
sit up here like most of these cats and bite my tongue. That's not
Information from SportsTicker and The Associated Press was used in this report.