For the second time this season, Andray Blatche called in to 106.7 The Fan to defend himself against a legion of callers venting about what coach Flip Saunders described as "terrible" play in last night's Wizards loss to the Knicks. Blatche shot 2-10 from the field and committed three turnovers in the Wizards' 21st straight road loss, so the criticism is probably justified.
Blatche didn't manage to sound as clumsy as he did the first time he called into the radio station, but he wasn't that much better. When asked to respond to the claim that he didn't give maximum effort, he seemed stupified.
"Always I give 100 percent effort. I'm the person that nobody ever says 'Well, this is what's bothering Dray today.' Nobody knows that I'm sick. Nobody knows that my shoulder is really messed up. Nobody knows that my knee really is bothering me. Nobody is paying attention to what's wrong with me. Everybody just cares about, well, 'Why is he playing so bad?' There's a reason why people play bad."
"But I'm not going to make no excuse. I'm just going to play."
Blatche said the shoulder injury flares up after he works out for 30 minutes, and he also has knee pain, but he isn't making any excuses, supposedly. That said, he did start to get annoyed when presented with the fans' criticism of his effort. In fact, that caused him to share a conversation he had with Gilbert Arenas, in which the mercurial, divisive outgoing star told him 'You're next.'
"We had a discussion, and this is what he said to me. 'Just as fast as they turned on me, it's going to happen to you.' I took it as a joke, but I actually see what he's talking about. Everybody is looking for someone to blame, and I feel like I'm turning into that person just like Gil."
... which then led him to defend his effort again.
"If you come to any of the home games or road games, you can see. I don't know what you watch on TV, but I give it my all. I try to give it my all. I don't go out there and play lackadaisical."
... which led to the natural crescendo: Blatche extolling his philosophy on how fans of a team should conduct themselves. He expressed frustration with fans who were happy about his performance last season, but have changed their minds this season.
"If you're a Wizards fan, that means you cheer for everybody. That doesn't mean you'll come to a game and you shout 'Trade him!' If you're part of a Wizards organization fan group, that means you cheer for the team."
And there you have it. Blatche becomes the latest athlete to forget that fans support you only as long as you are succeeding. That's the way it is. Wasting energy getting mad about it doesn't really help.
On another note, Blatche also discussed why the Wizards are 0-21 on the road. His answer reveals pretty much everything. He said the big problem is that everyone tries to do it themselves, but that nobody actually says anything to each other to fix the problem.
"We don't deal with it. Nobody says nothing. That's the problem right there. We're too much friends to each other, and we're scared to say anything to each other because nobody wants to hurt anyone's feelings."
How does the team deal with it instead?
"Then, next practice, we may joke about it so they can try to get a hint about it."
The Wizards: employing the same motivational tactics as the characters in Mean Girls.