05.22.09

Outed In Oakland : Warriors Publicist Is “The Flunkster”

Posted in Basketball, Blogged Down, Sports Journalism, The Internet at 6:01 pm by

Yesterday, I posted an item about Atlanta Hawks/Thrashers owner Bruce Levenson facing charges of posting pseudononymous comments to the Atlanta Journal-Contstituion’s website.  While the AJC has failed to prove Levenson’s participation in such a gutless act, the San Jose Mercury News’ Tim Kawakami today reveals Golden State Warriors P.R. director Raymond Ritter to be the message board troll “The Flunkster Dude” at WarriorsWorld.net (link courtesy Charles Star and The Popehat).

Posting earlier today as “The Flunkster Dude, Ridder (above) wrote that he appreciated that afternoon™s season-ticket-holder conference call, conducted by GM Larry Riley, team president Robert Rowell and broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald.

œI actually enjoyed the call and appreciate their honesty, the Flunkster Dude wrote.

As PR director, Ridder was heavily involved in setting up the call, in large part to stem the tide of recent negative publicity about the Warriors™ front-office decisions and the shedding of former executive VP Chris Mullin.

After the afternoon posting, there was an immediate uproar on the WW.net site when the site managers revealed that they had traced the comment™s IP address to the Warriors offices.

œIt was 100% me, Ridder said without hesitation when I reached him by phone. “I™ll take 100% responsibility, if anybody thinks I did anything wrong, Ridder said. œIt was completely on my own. I™ve never been told to do anything by anybody here. It was just me.

œIt was nothing malicious at all. I just wanted to get the conversation going in a positive direction“I thought we had a good conference call, I had some good conversations with some season-ticket-holders, then I got to my office and I looked on the internet and all I saw was negative comments, complaints, nothing positive.

œFrom my standpoint, I just wanted to get some positive things going. When I saw all the negative comments, I wanted to chime in. That™s all.

Ridder also confirmed that he has posted four other comments to WW.net anonymously defending management or otherwise trying to get the conversation going in œa positive direction.

None of the comments criticized Mullin (in fact, a comment about the Jamal Crawford trade ended with œNice job Mully!), despite the growing division between Rowell/Cohan and Mullin. None of the comments criticized a player.

Other than one negative comment about Matt Steinmetz and a general mention of œwhat we read in the newspaper, none of the Ridder comments single out a media member for rebuke.

Replies WarriorsWorld’s James Venes, “This is what we get under Cohan and Rowell, a dysfunctional front office more concerned about their image on a fan site (which we already knew they followed) than improving the team. The solution, aside from Cohan and Rowell leaving for good, is simple: fix the team and the rest will follow. As disappointed as I was to learn Ridder made the post (I think everyone’s entitled to a goof or two), none of this would have happened if it wasn’t for the people above him.”

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