SBD/October 9, 2013/Franchises

Leonsis Opens Up On Dealing With Wizards' Prima Donna Players In Previous Years

Leonsis would not comment on the potential for a Redskins name change
Wizards Owner Ted Leonsis yesterday said he has learned to "move quickly" when dealing with prima donna athletes "because one or two players that are all about me, me, me can really bring a locker room down," according to Sarah Kogod of the WASHINGTON POST. Leonsis, appearing on DC's WTOP-FM, said, "I’ve lived with that, frankly, with the Wizards over the last couple of years. We were forced to do that. They were some really, really talented players, but culturally, what we were trying to accomplish, we couldn’t get these players to kind of buy into what the collective good and plan was. And so you would sit them and, frankly, have to talk with their agents and their people and say, ‘This is what we’re trying to accomplish. This is the role that we’re hoping you can play.’ And the bigger agenda here is team success. If we have team success, your individual success will be highlighted and spotlighted in a more positive way. And frankly, there are a lot of players that it’s hard for them to get over that. They really do think it’s about individual stats or me, me, me. ... So we’re trying, I’m trying, to get players that have high character, high integrity" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 10/8). Meanwhile, Leonsis was asked about the Redskins name controversy and said, "I have so many issues that I have to deal with in my own organization. To be asked about something like that for another team, I think it’s inappropriate for me to comment. To be honest, if someone who owned another team was commenting on changing the name of the Wizards back to the Bullets, I wouldn’t like that." Leonsis also was asked about a possible name change for the Wizards and said, "My position is that we should worry about building a good team and making the playoffs and trying to win a championship with the Wizards name and that would be the right thing to do for our fan base" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 10/8).
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