Nets’ Blatche: Wizards hung me out to dry, tried to ruin my reputation
By Ben Golliver
Hell hath no fury like an amnestied player scorned.
Back in August, Andray Blatche was begging for a job, telling Syracuse.com that he was willing to play in the D-League if need be to resuscitate a career that hit a major speed bump when the Wizards released him using the amnesty clause. Three months later, Blatche, now a member of the Nets after signing a veteran’s-minimum deal, is wasting no time kicking dirt on his former team, which is a league-worst 0-12.
The Washington Post reports on Blatche’s jawing, which included mocking the Wizards for their poor record, suggesting the organization didn’t support him when he struggled with his conditioning last season and accusing the front office of trying to sully his reputation. Blatche’s comments were made in the Nets’ locker room before Monday night’s game with the Knicks and during an interview with 106.7 The Fan in Washington.
As reporters gathered in the Nets’ locker room before the game, Blatche asked, “Anybody seen how the Wizards are doing?” Then, after the Nets won and the Wizards lost their 12th consecutive game to start the season, Blatche went on his Twitter account and wrote, “Feels good to be part of a winning organization.”
“They could’ve explained exactly what was going on. They’ve could’ve had my back. They could’ve done anything. I don’t care what they could’ve done. It could’ve been small, than to say, you know what, ‘This is our escape route. We’re going to leave him out for himself. He’s going to have to fend for himself now,’ ” Blatche said. “No, that’s not what you do when it’s your family. And supposedly say this is a brotherhood. That’s not what you do. I don’t care, whatever my brother, my uncle, my sister, whatever anybody does, I’m going to have their back 100 percent. And that’s what you do with family. That’s all I’m saying.”
He also argued that his time in Washington was largely misrepresented. “For them to say, ‘Oh, he’s a bad teammate. He’s a cancer in the locker room.’ He’s this and that. All that is a bunch of lies,” Blatche said. “That’s what really made me mad. That showed me, they tried to end me.”
The Wizards swallowed $23 million to release Blatche, whose time in Washington included an arrest for soliciting a prostitute, an incident in which he traded punches with a teammate, spats with coaches and an infamous “Lapdance Tuesday” promotion.
On the prostitution bust: “That was a joke gone bad. … She was not dressed as a prostitute. She was just in front of the club, and we were just talking trash, playing around.”
On Lap Dance Tuesday: “Lap Dance Tuesday is not a strip club. It’s a regular club in Miami called Cameo, but on Tuesday nights they call it Lap Dance Tuesday. You can go down there any Tuesday, and will not see no strippers.”
NBA teams, even NBA teams stricken by key injuries, don’t accidentally wind up at 0-12. There’s enough talent on virtually every roster during virtually every season to prevent that type of thing from happening. It’s not exactly a secret that there are serious institutional problems in Washington, which hasn’t made the playoffs in four seasons, started 0-8 last season, fired coach Flip Saunders last January and is only a couple of years removed from Gilbert Arenas’ bringing guns into the team’s locker room over a gambling beef with teammate Javaris Crittenton.
The last person on earth who should be pointing out these problems is Blatche, a key figure in the middle of the dysfunction. Graced with a large contract and the leadership responsibilities that go with it, he admittedly showed up out of shape. He repaid the Wizards for their investment and the fan base for its endless patience with one off-the-court incident after another. Now, free from the organization he clearly resents, Blatche has passed on the opportunity to move on, instead taking glee at the Wizards’ struggles that he helped create.