I can sense a feud developing between ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, he of First Take fame, and Andrew Bogut, the oft-injured center and defensive stalwart for the Golden State Warriors.
It doesn't take much in the way of detective skill to sniff this one out.
First, Smith went out of his way to make up a pretty silly nickname for Bogut, via Diamond Leung, a beat writer for the Bay Area News Group:
Stephen A. Smith: Ws "devoid of big man presence b/c Andrew Bogut continuously resembled Andrew Bogus as somebody who's a complete no-show."— Diamond Leung (@diamond83) May 6, 2014
But he wasn't done.
It would've been one thing for Smith to present his opinion as, well, his opinion. He does that often enough, usually in a boisterously loud fashion. Smith has never been afraid to voice how he feels, after all.
But then he brought Bogut's teammates into the narrative, even though they aren't specifically mentioned and remain anonymous:
ESPN's Stephen A. Smith on Andrew Bogut: "He can certainly defend but behind his back he is called the Tin Man for a reason. No heart."— Diamond Leung (@diamond83) May 6, 2014
Calling someone "Tin Man" isn't exactly a compliment, and the Australian big man is well aware of that.
The anonymity bothers him as well:
If you are going to give quotes to reporters/media, put your name to it. This anonymous sources crap is beyond ridiculous. #knives— Andrew Bogut (@andrewbogut) May 8, 2014
If you're going to pick sides in this one, choose the one headed by the Golden State center. Anonymous sources are often tricky beasts, but looking beyond that, let's just think about the timing of Bogut's absence.
The big man didn't play throughout the postseason, sure. But why?
Only because he had a rib fracture that knocked him out of action. In fact, the dislodged bone was perilously close to his right lung, and even minimal contact could have caused a puncture, which is obviously an injury that most humans would like to avoid.
As Ann Killion explained for SFGate.com, that was a chance Bogut was unwilling to take:
Bogut, who has a long history of injuries, was obviously upset about the latest news. He's in pain, unable to breathe deeply or sneeze. Bogut said he has been told the injury is to his fifth rib, and that a further break could puncture his lung. Understandably, he didn't sound willing to take that risk.
Can you blame him?
Bogut does have a checkered injury history, as he's never proven to be an especially durable player. But many of the maladies have been severe blows. It's not as though he's voluntarily sitting out so that he can take a pass on helping out his teammates.
If anything, he has a big enough heart that he's often viewed as the enforcer for the Dubs.
Shame on whatever anonymous people are using that Tin Man nickname. Should they be unlucky enough to be thrust into the same spot, it's hard to imagine them handling the situation any differently.