Is Eric Gordon's Injury Really Just a Crybaby Temper Tantrum?

Kelly ScalettaFeatured ColumnistNovember 2, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 22:  Eric Gordon #10 of the New Orleans Hornets scores on a layup against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on April 22, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

There is rising speculation that Eric Gordon's knee injury is less about the knee and more about the inside boo-boo of not getting what he wanted when the Hornets matched a four year, $58 million contract with the Phoenix Suns. Is he really hurt or just pouting?

Gordon addressed the rumors to the media after practice on Nov. 1 according to this AP report in the Washington Post

I know things haven’t been going as well as hoped. It’s tough as a player to go through these things. You’re looking for the best from yourself, and you look forward to doing what is best for the team. As a player, I definitely look forward to helping this franchise and always look out for the best for this team. It has been very frustrating not to be able to play.

I know from a fan’s perspective that it is very frustrating for them, but as a player it is most frustrating for me and this organization, I know it’s tough, but it’s very hard on me. This is an injury that I have battled with and it’s frustrating, because this is a great city and a great organization and I definitely want to be a part of it. Being a part of it for me is being out there playing. The reason I’m not playing is because of this injury.

The problem with any kind of speculation here is basis. What's the basis for the doubt? Even in media reports, credulity can be added where it wasn't intended. For instance, the AP reports says, 

Coach Monty Williams also seemed a bit skeptical about the seriousness of the injury.

“He probably does feel pain,” Williams said. “That would be the only reason why a guy can’t play.”

When pressed by reporters for details of Gordon’s injury, the coach grew impatient.

“I’ll find out more as we go forward,” Williams said. “I’m not going to do this every game. I’ve told you he’s not playing. He’s out indefinitely.”

"Seemed a bit skeptical" is a very subjective observation. There's nothing in the language that Williams used that suggests skepticism but the addition of the words "seemed a bit skeptical" makes it seem that way. 

If you change the wording to "seemed sympathetic..." and give the exact same quote by Williams it changes the entire tone of his statement.

The same is true with, "when pressed by reporters for details of Gordon's injury, the coach grew impatient." Again, this is extremely subjective phrasing which leads one to infer that Williams is withholding information and/or opinions from the press. 

Change the phrasing again to "after getting asked the same question repeatedly, Williams was firm in his response," and again, you change the whole tone of what Williams said. 

The report here is using the wording from the reporter to imply meaning that may or may not have been in Williams' words or tone, but there's nothing in the wording to validate the subjective intonations. 

Add to this fact that Gordon says that there is swelling in his knee and that doctors are telling him there is swelling in his knee. 

I have had a little bit of a setback as far as this injury. “There has been a little bit of soreness and swelling. I’m always listening to the doctors and they’ve told me there is swelling, but obviously I can tell myself that there has been a little bit of swelling.

Swelling is an objective thing. There's nothing to form an opinion about. There either is or is not swelling. If there is swelling and his doctors feel he needs to rest, he should rest. If the reporter has a question about that, let him ask it instead of using subjectivity under the guise of objectivity to insinuate his opinion into Monty Williams' words. 

Even the insinuation on its face makes no sense. How long is Gordon is supposed to allegedly pout for? The duration of his brand-new, four-year contract? Why would he forsake the best years of his career just because New Orleans matched his contract?

Furthermore, why wouldn't he be excited to play with Anthony Davis, the No. 1 draft pick in this year's draft, like he says he is? Other than being injured, is there evidence he isn't?

This seems a classic case of the media trying to stir up controversy where none exists. There's nothing in his words, or in Williams' to suggest that it is anything else. 

There's a place for subjective observation in the media. After all, this very article is a subjective piece. It would be hypocritical to state that subjectivity is wrong.

However, insidiously slipping subjective observations into supposedly objective news pieces so that you can parlay that into subjective fodder for other pieces is bad journalism. 

Sans evidence to the contrary with a sound medical reason, this story should be treated as garbage. The last thing the media needs to do is pressure players who have knee issues into returning when they shouldn't. It's not the reporter's career on the line. But maybe it should be.