July 11, 2003

I'M JUST KIDD-ING!: Don't you

I'M JUST KIDD-ING!: Don't you just hate when you read a news story, react strongly to it, go home, spend 45 minutes writing a strongly-worded, very hostile, 500-word blog entry about it, go to sleep, and wake up later to find out said news story had been debunked by all involved?
So yes, Jason Kidd, I owe you an apology. I was wrong to take the New York Post at their word when they said you'd demanded the firing of coach Byron Scott, and yes, I was wrong to call you a "classless piece of shit." That's an insult that should only apply to the absolute lowest of the low in society. Like, say, people who smack their wives in front of their small children.
Still though, I find the way the story progressed throughout Thursday a bit interesting, to say the least. The Post story hit newstands and was published on the paper's website at around 6:00 A.M. EDT. Soon after it was talked about on morning talk shows on radio and TV, and was picked up by numerous other news sources. By the time I published my blog entry at shortly before 3:00 P.M., there hadn't been a single denial by Kidd, by any of Kidd's associates, or by anyone in the Nets organization.
The first published denial, by Kidd's wife Joumana to ESPN's Ric Bucher, came out at around 4:00 P.M.- a full ten hours after the publication of the original story. Shortly thereafter Joumana was joined by her husband, as well as Nets president Rod Thorn, in debunking the Post's version of events.
Had the Post story been competely without merit (as would have been the case had Peter Vecsey written it), and with every basketball reporter in the country hot on their heels for a quote, wouldn't all parties have thoroughly debunked the story by the end of the morning? Instead, it took nearly half of a news cycle for the Kidds to issue their first denial, and a few more hours for the Nets side to do the same. Also, notice that Thorn denies that Kidd "demanded or asked for" Scott's dismissal. Had Kidd said, as I believe he did, "should you happen to let Byron go, I'd be more amenable to staying," that wouldn't, technically, meet either definition.
I have no inside informaton and no proof of what happened, but here's my hypothesis: the Jason-says-fire-Scott story (attributed in the Post to "several league sources") was an intentional leak, most likely from Kidd's side, in order to gauge how likely the Nets were to fire Scott. The ten-hour gap between publication and denial allowed the Kidds to measure media reaction, as well as the Nets' reaction, in order to gauge the likelihood of a Scott-free future for Kidd, should he re-sign in New Jersey. The stories that the Kidds are conflicted, with Joumana favoring New Jersey and Jason San Antonio? Likely a deliberate smokescreen as well.
If this is indeed what happened, then I don't like Jason Kidd any more than I did before. But I do admire his sneakiness- perhaps he should consider a career as a political operative once he retires from basketball.

UPDATE: Here's the Post's follow-up; they stand by the original story, as do their sources. Hmm.

Posted by Stephen Silver at July 11, 2003 04:35 AM
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