When Eric Gordon announced that he was going to need four to six weeks to rehabilitate his knee, there was a reaction by some that it is perhaps a bit convenient in terms of the timing. John Hollinger sums up the reaction succinctly in the following tweet.
Eric Gordon now says he'll rehab for 4-6 weeks. Guess who's trade-eligible in 6 weeks. Hmmm.— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) November 3, 2012
This is in line with some speculation that Gordon isn't really hurt but is still miffed about the Hornets matching the offer he received from the Phoenix Suns this offseason.
This is one of the more deplorable aspects of sports reporting, sitting from an armchair and rendering judgment on the validity of an injury.
In the NFC Championship game two years ago Jay Cutler sprained his medial crucial ligament in the NFC Championship game but received a backlash of criticism from people who had no way of knowing the severity of the injury.
Even after it was revealed that it was a Grade-2 sprain, which means it involved tearing, there are still those who claim he was exaggerating the severity of it.
Then last season, New England Patriots tight end, Rob Gronkowski, again in the payoffs, suffered an ankle injury. After the Patriots lost the Super Bowl he was seen dancing at a nightclub, people suggested he was just fine and could have played.
Gronkowski though still needed surgery which he receive shortly after.
In both of those cases the hype proved to be nothing but hype and the injuries ended up being nothing more than injuries. The media though, in a rush to push controversy, often tries to find it where it doesn't exist.
In both cases players were seen doing normal activity and therefore it was assumed they should be able to compete on the extraordinary field of professional sports.
As in those cases, in this case there is a lot more innuendo and suggestion than actual fact. The genesis of the controversy appears to be in the supposed skepticism in comments made by New Orleans Hornets GM Dell Demps and head coach Monty Williams as reported by NOLA.com.
He's processing some information right now and he doesn't have any comment without discussing just what that information was. "We don't have any comment right now. We're processing information and we will, at the appropriate time, give a statement.
So the big news is that Demps didn't say anything, which of course entitles everyone to inject whatever "between the lines" kind of statement they want to.
Then, in the same article, it was reported Williams said,
He probably does feel pain; that would be the only reason why a guy can't play, For me to try to read an MRI ... I'll find out more as we go forward. I try to not get into all that because that would just make me upset.
I've checked with Doc, but for him to explain to me what's going on with his body and then have Eric feel a certain way doesn't matter. You know what I'm saying? If Doc says one thing and the guy is feeling another, then you have to . . . what am I supposed to say?
I'm sure it's got to be medical. A guy just can't not play. It's got to be medical. At this point of the year, everybody is excited to play. I'm sure it's medical.
The emphasis is put on this part about "If Doc says one thing and the guy is feeling another." Ergo, the suggestion is that Williams doesn't believe that Gordon is really hurting.
Of course, remember this is the same coach that also questioned the league's concussion policy. So, if he is questioning the validity of the injury, then why isn't his questioning being questioned? Considering all that's come out about the ramifications of how serious concussions are Williams might be too "old school" in regards to how injuries are treated.
Furthermore, Williams says, "I'm sure it's got to be medical." Why can't that quote be the one that stands alone? Because it doesn't fit the controversial narrative?
Finally, there is the fact that Gordon's doctors have said that he is four to six weeks away. Some people point to the convenience of that timing and wonder why he had to go to outside physicians. But why isn't that genuinely questioned?
In other words, isn't it possible that the real story here is that Gordon is still injured and the Hornets are trying to rush him back? After all they have a new owner and are trying to sell tickets. Wouldn't Gordon on the court help with that?
The thing that's missing from this whole thing—and it's a pretty critical piece in the conspiracy—is the actual trade request. If there's no trade request, why assume this is all some scheme to be traded?
Literally, ever aspect of this story is supposition and innuendo. There is not a single, solid shred of actual evidence that he's faking to buck for a trade.
Does that mean he isn't? No! But there needs to be more responsibility for the media in treating these types of situations.
A knee injury can be a huge career-ender. Faking injuries can destroy a players credibility. Questioning the validity of injuries should take more than twisting a few quotes out of contexts and asking loaded questions.