Charlie Villanueva: Why Kevin Garnett's Apology Is Already Too Little Too Late

Todd KaufmannSenior Writer INovember 3, 2010

PHOENIX - NOVEMBER 22:  Charlie Villanueva #31 of the Detroit Pistons handles the ball under pressure from Amar'e Stoudemire #1 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on November 22, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Pistons 117-91.  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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Growing up, my first love was the game of basketball.

I was raised in a house on five acres with only four other homes within five miles of us. Needless to say, I had to entertain myself as a kid.

I couldn't wait to get home from school because the first thing I would do was go find the basketball and go right back outside to shoot hoops. I knew I had homework, but I just figured it would wait for me. Normally, I was right.

There was something stress relieving about firing shot after shot after shot. I did what every kid my age did, I pretended it was a big game, in front of a big crowd, with the biggest moment coming up. That was every kid's dream, to hit the big shot.

I got a chance to play in high school my freshman year and there were always those opponents that liked to talk trash, but mostly it was just to hear themselves talk. It was the only way I could convince myself not to talk back.

But for those of us who did play the game and were intense on the court, there were things we would say to an opponent that we'd later regret. It's the heat of the moment reaction and it just slips out.

However, there were those moments where we knew exactly what we were saying and wanted to say it just to get under another player's skin.

No matter what it was we said, it was never personally insulting. Well, at least for most of us it wasn't.

For Kevin Garnett, however, he may have stepped over the line. As a matter of fact, he leaped over the line and cleared it with several feet to spare.

During a game between the Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons, Garnett let fly with one of those "I wish I could take it back," shots. It was directed at Pistons' forward Charlie Villanueva who suffers from alopecia universalis, a condition that results in hair loss.

During the fourth quarter of the game between the two teams, Garnett fouled Villanueva and the two had words.

Celtics' head coach Doc Rivers took Garnett out of the game but the two continued to talk on his way to the bench, eventually leading officials to hit both with a technical foul.

While most of the time, the drama between two players ends right there, apparently what Kevin Garnett said to Villanueva has set him off. So much so that Villanueva has taken to his official twitter account with his thoughts.

According to him, Garnett apparently called him a "cancer patient," which Villanueva took personally.

"KG called me a cancer patient, I'm pissed because, u know how many people died from cancer, and he's tossing it like it's a joke," one tweet from Villanueva said.

Another tweet said, "I wouldn't even trip about that, but a cancer patient, I know way 2 many people who passed away from it, and I have a special place 4 those."

The reactions around the social media network have been swift and, at times, fierce and most have been pointed right at Kevin Garnett. And for good reason because Garnett has yet to apologize.

I understand the fact that basketball players talk trash to each other when they're on the court and I get it happens. But using "cancer patient" was far worse than anything he could have said. Whether it slipped out, he didn't meant to say it, or it was in the heat of the moment, he needed to apologize and do so immediately.

So far, he has not. And it's made the reactions that much worse.

For my money, Gregg Doyel with CBS Sports said it right via Twitter earlier today. "The longer Kevin Garnett goes w/o apologizing—to cancer patients everywhere—the worse for his legacy. This mistake was huge."

I don't know if I could have said it much better than that.

For those of you who have had friends or family affected by this deadly disease, you know as well as anyone that cancer is not something to take lightly and it's not something to be used as a joke on the basketball court.

I've lost both of my grandfathers to this disease and have seen countless family friends be affected by this.

I don't doubt that Garnett is sorry for what he did, but he shouldn't have taken this long to apologize. He shouldn't have let it go this long before he says something. Problem is, he's yet to say anything.

I won't go as far as to say he should be fined or suspended for what he said. That would be going a little bit too far and overreacting a little too much.

Kevin, it's time to apologize. The sooner you do it, the sooner people forgive you and move on. The longer you let this drag out, the more they are going to wonder if you meant to say it.

You are a talented player with tremendous ability, but you let your mouth get you into trouble. If you want to correct this and fix how you'll be remembered, you'll say what needs to be said and, hopefully, you'll do it soon.

For those of you who think we should get over it and you don't think it was a big deal, let me give you another scenario that would be looked at equally as serious.

Let's say Charlie Villanueva let fly with a racial shot at Kevin Garnett and, to this point, he hadn't apologized for it. You can't sit here and tell me he wouldn't be the most hated player in the NBA right now.

Heat of the moment is one thing, but not correcting it is quite another. The longer this goes on without a word from Garnett, the worse it becomes.


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