Where Did Eric Bledsoe Not Want to Be: A B/R Investigation

Eric Bledsoe was cast aside by the Suns after a cryptic tweet he says they misunderstood. Was he right? Were there more sinister forces in the universe forcing his hand?
photo of Brandon SneedBrandon Sneed@@brandonsneedWriter-at-Large, B/R MagOctober 25, 2017



Electronic Communication


Title: Eric Bledsoe Hair Salon Situation Potentials


Date: 10/25/2017

To: B/R Mag

From: Desk of B.S.

Case ID #: 2-EB-10222017-TWEET-0444-P



B/R Mag reporting agent ("B.S.") investigates possibilities regarding a recent situation involving Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe, wherein Mr. Bledsoe published on Twitter a "tweet" stating: "I Dont wanna be here."

This led many to believe that Mr. Bledsoe was referring to his lack of desire to continue playing basketball for the Phoenix organization.

Mr. Bledsoe said he was referring to being stuck in a hair salon.



B.S. canvassed approximately two dozen hair salons (hereafter "potential locations") and half a dozen barbershops in the greater Phoenix/Scottsdale region, including Mr. Bledsoe's personal barber. He also reached out to Mr. Bledsoe's representation, Mr. Bledsoe's wife and Mr. Bledsoe himself.



Responses ranged from suspiciously ignorant of the situation, to impassioned defenses of Mr. Bledsoe, to detailed explanations of just how, exactly, one could theoretically get stuck in a hair salon at a level of desperation requiring one to tweet, to French accents, to insight from Mr. Bledsoe's barber.



See below for details, but possibilities include hostage situation and/or aliens.




Of the 24 potential locations, most claim ignorance of the entire situation, saying they do not know anything about Eric Bledsoe, the Phoenix Suns or the sport of basketball.

Stranger still, most also hesitated and outright declined to speculate as to what, exactly, could get so bad in a hair salon that it would compel an adult to tweet about not wanting to be there. Many employees at many salons opted out of cooperation, all—oddly—claiming the same excuse verbatim: "with clients."

At Downtown Salon Phoenix, the receptionist, who declined to provide her name, acted easily confused and somewhat combative. "What day was he in? And by the way, if he was in here, that is, like super confidential."

Eric Bledsoe wasn't happy about where he was, but what place that was is in dispute.
Eric Bledsoe wasn't happy about where he was, but what place that was is in dispute.David Zalubowski/Associated Press/Associated Press

At Salon Estique, "Ariel" said a long wait at a salon could even be a good thing. "Like therapy time, you know?" she said. "You talk to your stylist, get out all your problems. The salon is supposed to be, like, a really relaxing experience—you go there to get away."

An early target of great suspicion was found at VOLR Salon, where the music was very loud, and a man with a deep, husky voice responded only with an irritated, "I have no idea," when asked about Bledsoe and the Suns. Upon further questioning about why Bledsoe could have possibly tweeted such a thing in a salon, Deep Husky Voice said, sounding annoyed, "I would rather not get involved in this."

It should be noted for clarity, however, that in retrospect, what made him seem most suspicious was likely his accent, which seemed quite French.



Trudy Van Dusen, the manager at Bravo Salon in Scottsdale, said Mr. Bledsoe was not in her shop the day and time of the tweeting—but she also confessed to not following basketball and declined offering an opinion on whether Mr. Bledsoe was discussing the Suns or, in fact, hair salon patronage. "Speculation," she said, "is a dangerous thing."

This agent chose not to take that as a threat.

Ms. Van Dusen, with seven years of experience in the salon industry, dared to speculate as to what sort of frightening, tweet-inducing salon experience he could have possibly had.

"Getting hair color done on his head."

"A chemical service that he had to wait to process."

Asked to consider more sinister potential situations, she paused, then said, "Even in massage rooms, they don't tie people to the table. He probably could have left at any time."

(Note: This appears to be a clear indication that she has imagined tying people to salon chairs.)

Van Dusen also said she's "never" heard of, say, a stylist holding a customer hostage—and yet she will not say this is, in fact, impossible—only "pretty unlikely."

(Note: For some reason, she laughs as she answers.)

Asked what tools Mr. Bledsoe might have at his disposal in a hair salon should such a situation arise (hypothetically), Van Dusen said, "Just getting up and leaving is probably pretty good."

(Note: "Probably.")

Then, she added, "And you know, Twitter's maybe not a bad tool in that case."

Crystal Boyd, owner of Sa'Nia Salon, said she could easily imagine Mr. Bledsoe being stuck at a hair salon with his wife. "I don't allow it for my stylists," Boyd said, "but there can be a four-hour wait or more. It can be, like, a part-time job getting your hair done."

Boyd said that in her salon expertise, "It is not impossible he was just stuck at a salon."

She added one important consideration, however: "If he wasn't there with a girl, then, yeah, that is a lie. He wouldn't go to a salon. He would go to a barbershop."



After canvassing some half-dozen barbershops in the greater Phoenix/Scottsdale area and finding them mostly unhelpful, our agent hit paydirt at The Shop By Lefty's.

"The guy here who knows all that basketball stuff," according to the first person who answered the phone, was "Brandon," and he said he didn't know Mr. Bledsoe personally but had strong feelings about him as a fan and fellow human. He finds it likely Mr. Bledsoe was simply expressing discontent with the Suns. "He definitely put his foot in his mouth," Brandon said. "Don't know it's worth as much as you'd think, to be talking about things like that. He could have just gone right to one of the managers."

Elaborating at will—very much the barbershop therapist, it seemed—Brandon said, "Athletes might have too much of a say now—it's too easy to voice their opinion. I'm sure that back in the day, athletes had a lot to say about players, coaches, all that, but they were never in a position to where their voice could be so loud as it is now, with Twitter and all that. So I think now, the way times are, it gets guys in trouble when they feel emotional and gotta share it."

Bledsoe tweeted his plea for help on the same day Suns coach Earl Watson was fired.
Bledsoe tweeted his plea for help on the same day Suns coach Earl Watson was fired.Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Then Brandon laughed. "Come share it in the barbershop, man. Don't put it on Twitter."

A good therapist, Brandon also saw a lesson in this: "These guys are growing up in front of our faces too. It's a learning experience."

So did he believe Mr. Bledsoe's tweet referred to the Suns or a salon?

He laughed again. "Oh, he was for sure talking about the Suns."

Then Brandon said, "You know he gets his hair cut at 24K, right?"



[Editor's note: Since the publication of this article on Wednesday, Cartiye has told B/R Mag that he is not actually Bledsoe's personal barber, and that he did not actually speak with Bledsoe as previously described. A source close to Bledsoe said that while Cartiye has cut Bledsoe's hair in the past, he and Bledsoe have not been in contact recently.]

Mr. Bledsoe's preferred barbershop in the greater Phoenix area appears to be 24K Hair Spa, located in a strip mall on East Camelback Road. The proprietor and Mr. Bledsoe's personal barber is a man who goes by the name Cartiye (car-tee-yay). He has a friendly face and dreads. His shop seems standard enough for a barbershop, gray exterior in a strip mall, black chairs and white walls inside, with framed jerseys and photographs of athletes on the walls, including those of Mr. Bledsoe himself.

First things first: Mr. Bledsoe, the tweet—"He was not here at the shop at that time," Cartiye said.

Then he laughed. "That excuse for that tweet was a crock."

When he first heard Mr. Bledsoe's explanation for said tweet, Cartiye said he laughed—"it was pretty funny for us, to be honest"—and texted Mr. Bledsoe, saying, "Man, what made you say that?"

Recalling this with our agent recently, Cartiye laughed some more. "Like, a grown man ain't gonna be at a shop and, like—what you mean, be here tweeting, and then tweet, "I don't wanna be here"? Just leave, then! It doesn't make sense at all."

Regarding the possibility that Mr. Bledsoe's tweet could have referred to being stuck at a salon with "his girl," Cartiye deems that…dubious. "She has her own business," he said. "She just finished hair school."

Indeed, Morgan Bledsoe, nee Poole, earlier this year started a business called MORE by Morgan, based in Scottsdale.

This appears to largely nullify the possibility that Mr. Bledsoe was, in fact, at a salon with his wife at the time of the tweet in question.

Our agent was able to procure a phone number for Mrs. Bledsoe's business, but inquiries have gone ignored.

Regarding the motive for the tweet, Cartiye said, "He's been wanting to get out of here for a while now. He just hasn't been happy."



At the time this report was due to be filed, our agent had received no response from Mr. Bledsoe, his wife or his representation. Thus, as is required by all newsy investigative agents, he must submit the following for his GERTPETTAASLOQ (Good Enough Report To Publish Even Though There Are Actually Still Lots Of Questions) in order to satisfy the deadline created by his superiors so as to appease humanity's frenetic modern news cycle.

According to one person who knows Bledsoe, the Suns guard has wanted out of Phoenix for some time.
According to one person who knows Bledsoe, the Suns guard has wanted out of Phoenix for some time.Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Therefore, in regard to Mr. Bledsoe and the tweet in question, our agent's GERTPETTAASLOQ concludes the following:

CONFIRMED: Mr. Bledsoe was NOT at his barber.

CONFIRMED: Mr. Bledsoe was likely NOT at a salon with Mrs. Bledsoe.

STILL HYPOTHETICALLY POSSIBLE: Stylist-hostage situation, freed by the tweet.

As is the default modus operandi in all such situations, to explain what happened, our agent defers to the SOCLOTTS (SOmeone CLOse To The Situation).

Over the course of his investigation, based, of course, on the expertise of "Ariel," who earlier noted that one's time with one's hairstylist is "like therapy time," our agent has brilliantly deduced that Cartiye, as Mr. Bledsoe's personal barber, should be the designated SOCLOTTS who can definitively explain the contents of Mr. Bledsoe's mind.

Thus, some select quotes from the barber:

"Just for the sake of his career, I think he made that whole excuse of being at a salon, so that way it doesn't come off, like, 'I'm insubordinate.' He was just trying to avoid that at all costs."

"Once he talked to Rich Paul (Mr. Bledsoe's agent), and he tells him, 'Yo, that tweet is really unprofessional, you could've just asked for a trade'—that's the whole reason why this whole cover-up story come out. Like, trying to do a quick fix."

"He could just say to the owner, 'Hey, yeah, I want out,' even though that's how the tweet came off."

"It's like, man, on the professional level, I can't just tell this man, 'Yeah, I did tweet that.'"

"Man, to be honest, it's all about the political correctness."



Finally, now that that's out of the way, our agent can wrap this up with the most important part of any such report: the requisite DEF-POPS (DEFinite Possible Or Potential Scenarios). Herein, he considers all possibilities or potential scenarios not yet addressed, factual if possible, but better if they are debatable and/or could compel people to yell about it on, well, Twitter.

Mr. Bledsoe could have fallen victim to any number of DEF-POPS.

For instance, being abducted by aliens.

It stands to reason that if aliens acquired Mr. Bledsoe for an examination, he panicked on his way to the mothership lab.

A natural if not disappointing reaction. He's a star, certainly worth tracking—however, although he has been called "LeBron Junior," he is not, in fact, at the LeBron Echelon and arguably not even above the Carmelo Line. Therefore, Mr. Bledsoe may not yet have been informed about the aliens' universe-sized lab, their experiment with humanity and athletes' essential role therein.

So in our agent's estimation it is possible that, in his panic, Mr. Bledsoe pulled out his phone, unlocked it and used the first app he had open to deploy a desperate message—being, as for most, Twitter: a poetic irony since, as we know, tweets have become the aliens' preferred means by which to monitor the thoughts and feelings humans deem worth making public.

Thus, Mr. Bledsoe may, in fact, not have been lying to the Suns management when he said he was stuck at a hair salon—at least, not intentionally—while also not having actually been in said hair salon. Rather, he may have simply believed that to be true because, upon his release by the aliens, a government agent flash-fried his memory and replaced it with the hair salon story.

As with so many unfortunate incidents involving Twitter over the past couple of years, we may never know what compelled such a mind-boggling act of tweetage. The possibilities truly are endless.

All we will ever know for certain is this: If Mr. Bledsoe was not, in fact, referring to his discontent with the Suns, then his situation must have been, indeed, hairy.

Brandon Sneed is a writer-at-large for B/R Mag and the author of Head In The Game: The Mental Engineering of the World's Greatest Athletes (out now from Dey Street). His writing has also appeared in Outside, ESPN The Magazine, SB Nation Longform and more. He has received mention in The Best American Sports Writing. His website is brandonsneed.com. Follow him on Twitter: @brandonsneed.


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