Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bin Laden even scares a couple tweeting journalists

Shortly after the Celtics-Lakers game on Sunday, apparently a Lakers ballboy approached Boston Celtics sweetheart Kevin Garnett to ask for an autograph, and was told (and reported via twitter by Yahoo's Marc Spears and ESPN's J.A. Adande that he told the ballboy "you've got a better chance of catching Bin Laden."

A couple things. 

Good for Garnett.  It's not like he snarled at some random fan after the game--this was an opposing team employee and Boston just finished what turned into a blowout over the Lakers.  If I saw a Browns player signing for some Steelers' ballboy, let's just say that player would be the topic of conversation on sports radio for a couple weeks. Was the "Bin Laden" reference over the line?  Some might think so.  But it's not specifically insensitive to the victims of 9/11, although certainly a curious reference. I'm gonna let it slide.  After all, it's not like Garnett is the first to reference this.  Time Magazine put it on their cover.  Nine years ago.  Plenty of columnists (as well as satirists and comedians from Chris Rock to Bill Maher) have pointedly referenced our inability to track him down.  So in my opinion, Garnett's slam is fine, and people who were offended may just be looking to be offended by something.

And the original tweets by Spears (@spearsnbayahoo) and Adande (@jadande) were promptly deleted, but not before being retweeted (and therefore distributed beyond control) by lots of Twitter users.  Now, Spears and Adande said they deleted the tweets because basically all the @-replies were clogging their twitter streams.  Could be--but you can ignore those.  But that excuse sounds is ridiculous.  Adande has over 100,000 followers, and Spears over 20,000.  This isn't the firs time they have gotten a lot of retweets, and they get a lot of messages too, I bet.
More likely, this was them thinking "maybe we shouldn't report that."  But why? Are they physically scared of Garnett?  Scared of their access to players being cut?  Scared of David Stern yelling at them?  I have no idea.  But if a player said something within earshot of people...it's fair game.  Deal with it.

Me, I say screw the balboy. The Lakers should fire you, too.  And if Garnett gets fined for this comment, that's just ridiculous.