When Micheal Ray Richardson refused to shake an opposing coach’s hand after defeat, he was hypercompetitive. When he made a trade without telling the general manager first, he was a character, Maverick Ray. When he left the Patroons for two games to instruct at an NBA fantasy camp, it was just Micheal Ray being Micheal Ray. When he picked up more Ts than you’ll see in a month of “Wheel of Fortune” shows, he was a cannon so loose you couldn’t help but watch for the next explosion.
But when Richardson told a fan who heckled him early Tuesday night to “Shut the f— up,” and when near game’s end he shouted at another heckler, “Shut the f— up, you faggot,” you wondered how this guy keeps his job.
The answer: The general manager, Jim Coyne, is his friend and enabler. Coyne said he didn’t intend to speak to Richardson about his conduct. “He’s an adult and he should know better,” Coyne said. “He knows if he’s acting appropriately or inappropriately.”
After straddling the line between eccentrism and the outer limits of acceptable behavior, Richardson fell and tripped the wire a public figure can never cross. In addition to his slur against homosexuals and verbal beatdown of two fans during the game, Richardson made bigoted comments about Jews in an interview with the Times Union before it.
It started with an offcolor quip Richardson made in his office to two reporters when discussing the contract Coyne had offered him Monday to coach his USBL team.
When told that such an offhand remark might offend people because it plays to the stereotype that Jews are crafty and shrewd, Richardson replied: “Are you kidding me? They are. They’ve got the best security system in the world. Have you ever been to an airport in Tel Aviv? They’re real crafty. Listen, they are hated all over the world, so they’ve got to be crafty.”
Why are they hated? he was asked.
“They know that in this country the Jews are running it if you really think about it,” Richardson said. “I mean, which is not a bad thing, you know what I mean?”
“How are they running it?” he was asked.
“They got a lot of power in this world, you know what I mean?” he said. “Which I think is great. I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with it. If you look in most professional sports, they’re run by Jewish people. If you look at a lot of most successful corporations and stuff, more businesses, they’re run by Jewish. It’s not a knock, but they are some crafty people.”
So I’ve had a chat or two with management at The Scoot Inn, and despite prior assurances I’d have complete creative control over tonight’s programme, there’s been a subtle hint or two that perhaps I need to make a greater effort to make the cash registers ring.
I’m all about the art. I hope you know that by now. But it’s also really hard to masturbate blog with a broken arm, and with that in mind, I have made some serious concessions.
Along with my usual musical journey down Memory Lane (and I-35 south), tonight will also feature a stirring career retrospective devoted to Tim Stegall. Not only will rare footage of the Hormones and Napalm Stars be on display, but we’ll have a reading of some of Dr. Stegall’s finest works and perhaps dignitaries from all over the music and art world will make their testimonials via satellite.
(due to circumstances beyond our control, Tim Napalm himself will not be in attendance).
I should also mention —- in the interests of full disclosure, that when Scoot Inc. re-sent my last missive about this event, a particularly unflattering reference to a band I’ll merely refer to as the Weapons Of Mass Fucktardom, was deleted.
I wholeheartedly promise you that no censorship took place, and any reports of an unpleasant exchange between myself and a certain C. Attal of Austin, TX were wildly exaggerated. We were merely rehearsing for a dinner theatre production of “Network” (he took the Ned Beatty part, I was Peter Finch).
In any event, I look forward to seeing you all at the Scoot Inn (1308 East 4th Street at Navasota), this evening, from 10pm onwards.
Sasha Pavlovic was trying to sing a Young Jeezy song. First, Sasha can’t rap, at least not in English. Second, he was apparently messing it all up. So Donyell Marshall and David Wesley were trying to explain to him the lyric was “Go Getta” as in “he’s a go-getter” not “he’s a go get her” as Sasha as saying. He wasn’t getting it, but it was damn funny watching the two of them attempting to explain what a “go-getter” is in comparison to what he thought “go get her” meant. (Note: this was modified once I was clued in to who Young Jeezy was)
Windhorst has nothing to apologize for. I’m impressed that 110 year old Donyell Marshall knows who Young Jeezy is.
I like it when the Mavs margin of victory is larger than the number of years I have been alive. Is it weird that the most thrilling moment of the whole game was the ally oop dunk Croshere pulled off early in the 4th quarter? I know part of the impetus for me starting this blog was to mourn the loss of Keith Van Horn and for a while I thought Van Horn’s skill-less spirit would live on in the form of Austin Croshere. But he’s really improving and growing on me.
Hi, Dave: I think Mr. Thorn had second thoughts about not taking Walter Hermann when he had the chance — he looked pretty good against the NJ boys. I’m feeling pretty low about the season and what has transpired. Any encouraging words?
Mo: Do you mean Walter Hermann Bucher, the paleontologist known for his study of cryptovolcanics? Or Walter Hermann Nernst, the Nobel Prize winner for his work in thermochemistry? Because I really doubt they regret that they couldn’t get Walter Herrmann, the one-dimensional forward who probably couldn’t make half the teams in the league. I don’t want to knock the kid, because he’s overcome a lot of tragedy in his life (he’s the kid who lost his mom, sister, and girlfriend in a car accident back in ’03) to have a very nice career for Argentina. But I would be very surprised if he is better than, say, Nachbar. And as of Saturday night, I think he had something like 11 assists and 50 boards in 500 minutes. And when they made the McInnis deal, the Bobs let it be known in no uncertain terms that Herrmann wasn’t available. . . .As for encouraging words: You know what’s occurred to me these last few mailbags? Other than Prof. Turner, who probably has better alcohol than the rest of us, all the letters have come saturated in melancholia, and every reply makes me sound like a surly nag. So let’s get back to the way it is: They will probably get the seventh seed, they will probably match up with Cleveland, and nobody defends LeBron better than Jefferson, which means it could be a very competitive series. You know, if the ja-drools ever get there.
CARACAS, Venezuela — Former major league pitcher Ugueth Urbina was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the attempted murder of five workers on his family’s ranch, a local newspaper reported Wednesday.
Urbina, a former pitcher with the Philadelphia Phillies, was also found guilty of illegal deprivation of liberty and violating a prohibition against taking justice into his own hands during a dispute over a gun on Oct. 16, 2005, El Universal reported.
The 31-year-old free agent was accused of joining a group of men in attacking and injuring workers with machetes and pouring gasoline on them at his family’s ranch, located about 25 miles south of Caracas.
Urbina repeatedly has denied involvement with the violence, saying he was sleeping at the time of the attack.
Levi Draher, 16, walked to the front of the Navarro High School gym in early March and picked up the microphone before a hushed audience of fellow teenagers.
œI died and came back, he said.
Levi was found by his mother last Oct. 28, clinically dead, suspended on a rope he had slung across a bunk-bed frame. He had pushed his neck onto the rope, he told the rapt audience, aiming to achieve a surging rush as his brain was starved and then replenished with blood just before the point of unconsciousness.
The rush is the appeal of the choking game ” or space cowboy or cloud nine or any of a dozen other names. In most schools and families it remains a subject of deep shadow and denial, students, parents and health professionals say.
œI did it because it felt good and I didn™t think I™d get caught, said Levi, a slow-talking, sardonic skateboarder and hockey player from San Antonio. œDo I consider myself a miracle? asked Levi, who told the students he had played the game three times before his accident. œYes, I do.
While asphyxiation games have been around for many years, a series of locally publicized deaths around the country over the last few years, coupled with a realization that teenagers are seeing the game on Internet sites like YouTube, and playing it in more threatening variations ” more often, like Levi, alone with a rope ” are sparking a vigorous and open discussion in schools and among parents™ groups, summer camp administrators and doctors.
I’m sure you’re all as shocked and dismayed as I am. They named a high school after Dave Navarro?
If your tastes run towards the cinematic rather than David Wright’s hit parade, be advised that Rob Perri’s terrific short film / achievement in copyright infringement, “I’m Keith Hernandez” will be shown at New York’s Anthology Film Archives, Thursday evening (3/29) at 7:45.
Pete Segall sends along a terrific article from the Washington Post that catches up with former Maryland star Byron Mouton, an unsung hero of the 2002 NCAA Champion Terps who’s currently eating poorly and earning worse while biding his time with the ABA’s Wilmington Sea Dawgs.
“Everybody on our team was shocked when he didn’t [get drafted],” said Juan Dixon, a former Maryland point guard who plays for the Toronto Raptors. “It didn’t seem fair. Without Byron, we don’t even get close to winning it in 2002. He might have been the best all-around guy on that team, but that’s the story of his career. He just gets overlooked.”
A few times during the last six months, Mouton has considered quitting. This season, he’s slid deep into the backwash of professional basketball. He played for a team in Montana that folded in December. Then Mouton joined an ABA team in Cape Cod that never paid him and played its home games at a middle school. Wilmington…provided Mouton’s opportunity to escape.
Mouton invests himself emotionally in Wilmington’s success, which his teammates generally view as pathetic. In a league that comprises players obsessed with building stat lines that please scouts, Mouton prides himself on leadership and self-sacrifice in pursuit of winning. During a pregame meal at Chick-fil-A in late February, Mouton tried to excite his teammates for a game against the Jacksonville Jam.
“I’ve been looking on the ABA message boards,” Mouton said. “Jacksonville is like number eight in the league power rankings. That’s a few spots ahead of us.”
“Nobody cares about this league, man,” said Terrence Todd, Mouton’s teammate. “Eat your chicken nuggets.”
Terrence Todd, your agent’s phone is ringing. There’s a lot more in the piece, some of it depressing (the 250-strong crowd at a Sea Dawgs home game), some of it frightening (a Chinese league in which games were played outdoors, sometimes in the rain), and some of it poignant. And then there’s this:
Mouton spends much of his time in Wilmington talking about his plans for this summer. During a two-hour conversation with a teammate late one night, he outlined his possibilities: to take real estate classes, which will facilitate a transition to his next career; to intern at the tobacco company where his brother works; to play in a Puerto Rican league that pays $15,000 per month; to play in a California summer league frequented by NBA scouts.
He loves talking about his future. It’s the easiest way not to get stuck in the past.
“You know what else I want to do?” Mouton said. “I want to enter some of those professional bass fishing contests. Man, I love fishing. I love it. And the thing is, you just never know. Maybe 10 years from now, people will be remembering me as the king of bass.”
That brother would be former Texas star Brandon Mouton, by the way. As for the “king of bass” part, Byron should probably check with this guy before claiming that title.
On the matter of Stephon Marbury’s economy kicks (the latest model, shown above, image swiped from The Association), exclusive retailer Steve & Barry announced today that Ben Wallace (middle, shown with Rick Mahorn to his right, homeless man to his left) has signed on as part of what they optimistically dub “The Starbury Movement.”
Showing the sort of initiative he demonstrated when he chewed on ‘Zo’s leg almost asked out Jodie Foster, Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy proposes a bold way to uh, prevent Doc Rivers from throwing any more games. From the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen.
Weeks before accusations could begin that teams were tanking games to improve their chances of landing either of the season’s celebrated college prodigies, Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, Van Gundy offered a solution. Make the entire first round a lottery. One through 30. Put every name in a hat and let luck determine the draft order.
That would help the ratings of the draft lottery show. The NBA could get Howie Mandel, 30 models and briefcases and draw better ratings than the Stanley Cup finals.
“I think every team should have an equal chance at winning the lottery, from the best team all the way down,” Van Gundy said. “I don’t want to accuse anyone of anything. I would say to take away any possible conflict of interest, everyone should have an equal chance at the top pick all the way down. That way there would be absolutely no question by anybody about anything.
“If it’s better for the game, they should do it. I never quite understood why losing is rewarded, other than (for) parity.”
Last week, weeks after Van Gundy’s suggestion, Boston coach Doc Rivers did not play Paul Pierce and Al Jefferson in the fourth quarter of a loss and questions immediately arose that he was beginning a late-season dive for lottery position.
“I was not tanking the game,” Rivers said after it appeared he was. “I was not throwing the game or anything like that.”
But that should not even need to be answered. And with players going out with injuries, fans should not have to ask if players are hurt, or helping their teams lose. The Bucks are loaded with season-ending injuries that some will suggest would not have been season-ending had Milwaukee had reason to win. Ray Allen could be ready to shut it down in Seattle. Pierce has begun talking about calling it a season in Boston.
There will be more incidences to raise suspicions, though few could match the Timberwolves last season having Mark Madsen launching 3-pointers in an effort to improve draft position or stress-test the rims.
Of course, it is easier for Van Gundy to make his proposal with his team having won a weighted lottery, moving up from fifth to first to get Yao Ming. He works in an arena with a pair of championship trophies won a decade after the Rockets successfully tanked to the top pick, Hakeem Olajuwon.
Much as I love Jeff’s idea, why do I get the feeling Isiah Thomas still would’ve taken Renaldo Balkman if the Knicks had the no. 1 overall pick?
The former All-Star only got 12 minutes in a stinging loss to the Orlando Magic last night. He launched four shots and missed them all, finishing with one measly point.
œIt™s hard, man, Francis said in the locker room afterward. œIt™s definitely hard being a veteran going from last week playing 44 minutes to this week playing 2 minutes.
Francis probably deserves credit for coming back with one healthy leg and helping the Knicks postpone the inevitable. Despite the injuries, they did get a chance to play in some meaningful games.
It sounds like the alleged buyout offer is coming making a comeback.
Knicks coach Isiah Thomas started Mardy Collins in the second half Monday against Orlando, and stuck with the rookie down the stretch.
œI liked the way Mardy was playing, he said. œHe had a good game going, and I thought he would give me more.
Francis questioned the lack of playing time last week in Cleveland, as well. Maybe this was payback. Either way, bickering isn™t going to stop the Knicks from sliding right off the playoff map.
While there’s been no shortage of speculation surrounding Florida’s Billy Donovan and the Kentucky vacancy, this item from Florida Today’s Peter Kerasotis is the first hint I’ve seen of Donovan replacing Doc Rivers in Boston. Of course, the Celtics could always hire Dickey Barrett and see if anyone could tell the difference.
In some contexts, adventurous might seem like a boast. In a Casual Encounters ad on Craigslist, for instance. But as the Royals’ Emil Brown explains to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, it’s a bit of a slur for a prideful outfielder.
Emil Brown glanced at the lineup card Sunday morning in the Royals™ clubhouse, turned and observed to anyone within listening distance:
œI guess my defense is good enough for me to be in right field today.
The words came out as a challenge and borderline belligerent. The message was unmistakable. Brown has had it with those who label him œan adventure, or worse, in the outfield, on the bases or anywhere else.
His irritation centers on the media, first and foremost, but not exclusively. His fed-up list includes anyone trashing his skills, be they players or officials with other clubs ” or within the Royals™ organization.
œI hear it all of the time, Brown said. œHe™s an adventure out there. Why? Because I™m actually trying to make plays happen?
œIt isn™t an adventure for (Twins outfielder) Torii Hunter when he dives for a ball and misses it. Then, it™s, ˜Oh, he just missed it.™ He gets the benefit of the doubt because he™s a Gold Glover. But it™s an adventure when I do it.
Brown has been slow-cooking this rant for two years now, and it comes to full boil at the suggestion he might be ticketed for platoon duty after leading the club in RBIs in each of the last two seasons.
œNo, I wouldn™t be (happy), he said. œI™m not going to pretend. I want to be out there. That™s why I™m here. I can™t see how you™re going to have much success in a platoon situation when you can have a (productive) guy out there who can get comfortable in a regular role.
œI think I should be out there every day ” wind, sleet or snow, he said. œI™m a playmaker. If I haven™t shown that yet, I will. Leading the team in RBIs, but even going further than that, there are other things I do besides driving in runs. Just leave me alone and let me play.”
Of the suspended Guillermo Mota, Captain Red Ass tells Newsday’s David Lennon, “”You name me one profession where there ain’t something – where everything is hunky dory and cushy – and I’ll give you a zillion dollars. It’s over with. There’s nothing we can do about it. You’re innocent until you’re proven guilty and you go on with life. There’s guys in jail that probably didn’t commit crimes. There’s also guys on the street who’ve committed crimes. Life ain’t perfect. Deal with it.”
Indeed, there’s all kinds of non-hunky dory behavior out there. Some guys use drugs to obtain a competitive advantage, others try to fuck every teenage girl on Long Island. What are you gonna do?
While Phil Mushnick made note of Jerry Girard’s passing Monday morning, the sad news only hit the AP wire this evening (link courtesy Wojohowicz, who adds, “seemed like most of the early ESPN anchors lifted Girard’s schtick , with half the laughs & twice the smarm.”)
Jerry Girard, a sports broadcaster for WPIX-TV in New York from 1974 to 1995, died Sunday in Hawthorne, N.Y. He was 74.
He was a disc jockey in Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Gary, Ind.; and Altoona, Pa., before returning to New York as a record librarian at WNEW radio. He moved to WPIX as a news writer before becoming the station™s sports voice.
His nightly television appearances to describe the day™s sports happenings were characterized by frequent acidic commentary, invariably delivered with a straight face.
Girard, who resigned from WPIX in 1995 after his weeknight shift was given to Sal Marciano, was a genuine treasure during an era in which the nightly sports highlights on broadcast TV had far greater import than today. Long before ESPN invaded every home, and years before WFAN pioneered a yack radio format that now exists in most major U.S. cities, the odd bit of commentary from the likes of Girard (along with Bob Lobel on Boston’s WBZ, was very much ahead of its time.
The Journal News notes that friends may make memorial contributions in Girard’s name to: Hospice and Palliative Care of Westchester, 95 S. Broadway, Fourth Floor, White Plains, NY 10601.
3 of Dwight Howard’s blocks were legit — including a rejection of a Nate Robinson layup with 7 seconds remaining — but a non-call on a clear goaltending violation (above) should loom almost as large as, well, the inability to put a body on Jameer Nelson. And the 14 missed free throws.
Former Met Heath Bell tells the San Diego Union Tribune’s Tom Krasovic that he was certain he’d leave Arizona a member of the Padres big league roster beacuse œSan Diego wanted me. New York didn’t want me. It’s plain and simple “ if you want me, I’m pretty much on the team. I could have (messed) it up. But I’m not going to (mess) it up.
While the Marlins swapped former Mets prospect Yusmeiro Petit to the D-Backs today in exchange for P Jorge Julio, the Cubs announced that Kerry Wood would start the season on the disabled list. This is Wood’s 11th trip to the DL in a decade, which really isn’t very many times until you consider that baseball isn’t a contact sport.
Return engagement time, folks. I’m dj’ing again at The Scoot Inn (1308 E. 4th St. at Navasota, Austin TX) this Wednesday (March 28) night from 10pm ’til closing. If you’re on the fence about venturing out, please keep the following in mind :
1) if you’re sick to death of Austin bars and nightclubs where you’re constantly approached by attractive people offering drugs or trying to take you home, this oughta be right up your alley.
2) There’s no chance in hell these guys will be playing — either in person or in recorded form.
3) Management has assured me they now accept U.S. currency.
4) If I’m busy playing records, the odds of my spilling something on you are significantly reduced.
-Not to say that Damon Jones is either disgruntled or assured he’s moving elsewhere after this season, but he informed everyone within earshot Sunday that everything he had was for sale. His house, his cars, even his diamond-crusted watch, which Daniel Gibson wanted a price on. I won’t say the number, but It seemed out of the rook’s range. He asked LeBron if he’d buy his house, which he bought off Bob Sura for 600K according to my searching. LeBron quoted him a cash price, which Damon thought about but rejected.
ESPN’s Rick Sutcliffe (above), paying homage to the Reds’ Ken Griffey Jr. during today’s Cincy/Boston tilt.
“You know, the thing about Junior that’s always jumped out at me…not only the amazing things he’s done on the field, but there’s never been anything wrong he’s done off the field.”
Indeed, other than getting hurt every 10 minutes, Junior’s nothing short of perfect.
Daisuke Matsuzaka’s line today : 5 IP, no runs, no hits, 5 walks, 6 K’s
Though Dave Schied — recently heard singing the praises of Marky Mark’s “Shooter” — never turned in the “Rocky Balboa” review he promised CSTB, perhaps I should’ve asked Da Edge. From Newsday’s David Lennon.
It seems like TNT shows a Rocky marathon every other weekend, and the reason they do it is for people like Lastings Milledge. As soon as the Mets outfielder noticed Rocky III today on the clubhouse television, Milledge pulled up a stool, turned up the volume and was riveted to the screen. He was just in time for the training sequence involving Rocky and Apollo Creed sprinting side-by-side on the beach. I can’t help but wonder if he was picturing himself edging past Shawn Green in his mind’s eye.
“I’ve seen every one like 15 or 20 times,” Milledge said. “Every time it’s on, I have to watch it. I don’t know why. I’m addicted to them.”
It wasn’t long before Milledge had company around the TV, which hangs from the ceiling between two rows of lockers. Jose Valentin thew a mock right hook at a clubhouse kid, then walked off to the lunch room chanting, “Rock-ee! Rock-ee! Rock-ee!” Milledge barely flinched. His eyes never leaving the TV as Rocky stepped into the Madison Square Garden ring to face Clubber.
“These guys are ripped,” Milledge said. “I want to see Clubber Lang against the Russian [from IV].They’ve got to make one of those.”
Cooling his heels will be Joe Theismann, who established zero rapport with Kornheiser during last season, and was clearly the one member of the trio furthest from his element during the routine celebrity pop-ins (though considering Christian Slater was one of the celebs, that’s not the biggest knock on Joe).
Lapdog38: Hey Curt. This blog is awesome. I mean, I can’t believe it’s really you. I’m nervous just typing, knowing you are there on the other end. Let me tell you a little about myself. I am 38 years old (pretty cool, huh, 38?) and I have your jersey in XXL (both home and away versions). I’m living at home, in the basement, rent free, and I’ve got cable and plasma TV. Domino’s delivers. I guess you could say I’m living the dream. Anyway, I was wondering if you could tell us who’s going to be on the final 25-man roster for the Sox this year?
38 Pitches: Whoa, there, Lapdog38. I know you guys first heard about Pap being our closer on this blog, but I’ve promised the owners, Theo, and Tito I’ll try not to break any more news here. I’ll leave that to the “sportswriters,” if you know what I’m saying. Just don’t believe everything you read, ha ha.
Suckup38: Curt, you are the best. Thank you for this blog. It completes me. You had me at hello. I have blood stains on all my white socks. I was wondering if you would please consider going back to the negotiating table with the Red Sox during the season. If you leave Boston, I’ll be forced to leave, myself.
38 Pitches: Don’t get carried away there, Suckup38. I know it’s difficult, but try to remember that even though I am the ace of the staff and delivered a World Series to you after 86 years, and am serving my fellow man in every way imaginable, I am still only one man. And I will not negotiate through the media. I think I’ve been pretty clear on that in all of my news-breaking interviews with WEEI.
Loser38: I used to go to Star Trek conventions and comic book trade shows. No more. Now this blog is my life. My girlfriend says I’m spending too much time on this site. I say she’s being ridiculous. I mean, what’s six hours a day when you have a chance to communicate — cyberspace to cyberspace — with a legitimate Hall of Famer? Do you think I’m being reasonable, Schill?
38 Pitches: I’ve learned that greatness comes with a price. Only you can decide if you’re willing to pay that price. Personally, I’m spending about eight hours a day with this site and that’s not easy when you have as many responsibilities as I have. Whenever I begin to question things I just ask myself, “What would Gandhi do?” I mean, I never met the man, but I heard he was a really good guy. I think he would have been into 38 Studios.
CHB38: What do you say to those media morons who contend that you are a self-important blowhard with an ill-informed opinion about everything and an insatiable need to be worshipped by sheep-like fans and late-night blog boys who live in Ma’s basement?
38 Pitches: I say bring ‘em on. You think it’s easy being player-manager/staff ace/media go-to guy/entrepreneur/candidate-in-waiting/savior of the universe? Walk a mile in my shoes, big guy. Meanwhile, I’ve got to call it a night. Thank you all for writing and keeping it real. Forever yours, 38 Pitches.
As the investigation of Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer’s suspicious death continues, the Guardian’s Mike Marquesee insists “the unsubtle innuendo linking Pakistani cricketers to Woolmer’s ghastly murder goes beyond sensationalism. The rush to judgment here is fuelled by that other bane of sports journalism, national stereotyping.”
Pakistan’s shock loss to cricketing minnows Ireland, which led to their elimination from the World Cup, is said to be “under the microscope”. The implication is that the match was fixed and that this is somehow related to Woolmer’s murder. As conspiracy theories go, this one is particularly weak.
Given the team’s abject performance on the day, virtually all the players would have had to have been bribed and the bribes would have had to have been on a colossal scale – sufficient to compensate for the huge financial loss, public humiliation, and termination of careers that would accompany an early exit from the cup. Neither the putative motive nor means are credible here.
There is, to hand, an alternative explanation: in recent months Pakistan has played dreadfully inconsistent cricket. Weeks before the players’ arrival in the West Indies they were beaten by South Africa 3-1, bowled out once for a measly 107 and then for a barely more respectable 153. Ireland had already pulled off a surprise by tying with Zimbabwe days before encountering Pakistan.
The fact that three members of Pakistan’s squad, including the captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq (above), were questioned by police on Saturday was blazed in banner headlines. That police immediately confirmed the questioning was routine and declared that the entire team was free to leave the country was buried in the columns below.
But never mind the facts, it’s easier to stick to stereotypes. We all know that south Asians take their cricket too seriously (which they do), that corruption is rife in these societies (which is true), and that wiliness and duplicity are part of the oriental (or Muslim) character (which is idiocy).
Can I propose a ban on the use of the word “volatile” by British journalists in relation to Pakistani (or south Asian) cricket? Like cliches in general, it’s a tell-tale sign of a failure to reflect, and from a media addicted to the heroes-to-zeroes script, somewhat hypocritical: witness the wild mood swings that accompanied England’s entry and exit from the football World Cup and Freddie Flintoff’s transformation from Ashes messiah to pedalo piss-artist?