Doc Stands Behind Garnett's Statement

So did he say it, or didn't he?

Charlie Villanueva, via twitter, accused Kevin Garnett of calling him a "cancer patient" during last night's game. Villanueva suffers from a disease called alopecia, a condition in which most or all of your hair is lost from head to toe. While Garnett is known to be a trash-talker on the court, the idea that even he would say something like this is a little farfetched.

A statement made by Garnett earlier today read: "I am aware there was a major miscommunication regarding something I said on the court last night. My comment to Charlie Villanueva was in fact ‘You are cancerous to your team and our league.' I would never be insensitive to the brave struggle that cancer patients endure. I have lost loved ones to this deadly disease and have a family member currently undergoing treatment. I would never say anything that distasteful. The game of life is far bigger than the game of basketball."

Prior to Wednesday night's game against the Bucks, Coach Doc Rivers backed up Garnett, saying, "I'm not going to go off on a tangent on this whole thing. I actually heard what Kevin said - I was standing right there. What he released is what he said. I'm going to leave it at that.

"I don't like the whole tweeting thing, I'll state that as well. I think guys talk on the court. Doesn't mean they should or shouldn't. The fact that we're talking about this, to me, is just silly, it really is. We should be talking about we had a hell of a game yesterday and let's talk about basketball. It's amazing to me that this stuff is news now. This is not sports.

"I used to play, and I can't imagine us running and talking about what was said.

"Larry [Bird] has said some terrible things to me and I'm still hurt by them," Rivers joked.  "But you know what I mean. And there are times when guys do cross the line but you get over that too. So I don't know, I don't think talking about what guys have said during the game is the place. I just don't find a place for it."

Rivers has a point, and I'm sure many athletes, old and young, will agree with it: What is said during the game should stay there. In this age of social media, it's easy for word to spread like wildfire and blow up into epic proportions.

That seems to be what happened today. Clearly there was a difference in what was said and what was heard. If Villanueva had a problem with what Garnett said, he should have confronted him about it. 

Instead of finding a way to contact Garnett in private, Villanueva took another route and decided to go public with the altercation, putting Garnett's reputation on the line.

Isn't there some sort of man-code against that?

Vince Ellis from the Detroit Free Press tweeted that Villanueva said, "I know exactly what I heard," when told of Garnett's statement.

Garnett will stand by his statement, and Villanueva will stand by his. That really isn't the issue.

The issue, as Doc said, is that we're even talking about it.

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