Doc Rivers Criticizes Bill Simmons' Comments On Move From Celtics To Clippers
Clippers coach Doc Rivers addressed his move from the Celtics and comments made by ESPN's Bill Simmons during the net's NBA Draft broadcast. Appearing on WEEI’s “Salk & Holley” show on Friday Rivers said he, along with Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge and team ownership "came up with this and obviously I had to leave." Rivers: "If you want to say I quit, you can say that and that’s fine but I thought he had an agenda.” Rivers said he and Simmons “were bad” when he first got to Boston and Simmons “did everything he could to try to get me fired.” Rivers said Simmons “wrote letters, he actually wanted to have a sit down with one of our owners about firing me, so he had an agenda.” Rivers: “Thank God our owners didn’t believe him. They actually laughed at him and thought he was a joke. And thank God they didn’t believe him or think his opinion was enough to do that and allow me to stay in a very difficult time and win.” Rivers added of Simmons, “If you're going to go on a national broadcast and talk about something, you got to have your facts right or you can’t be careless and reckless, and I thought that’s what he was last night. I don’t care if he doesn’t like me or not but just speak the truth” (“Salk & Holley,” WEEI-FM, 6/28). Rivers noted Simmons is “not a fan of mine” and said, “Bill’s a fan. Is he qualified to do the NBA? We can debate that all day” (“The Dan Patrick Show,” 6/28). Simmons on Friday wrote on Twitter, "I'd be careful, Glenn. Seriously. Stop talking. You are making sh*t up" (TWITTER.com, 6/28).
TOUCHY, TOUCHY: In Akron, George Thomas wrote the TV exchange "made for great, honest television on Rivers' part." Thomas: "But I had to wonder if Simmons crossed an invisible line that few sports journalists cross. Yes, we all have favorite teams in favorite sports, but for the most part, we don’t allow it to affect our jobs and observations." Thomas wrote, "Good television it was, but I suspect it might be a moment Simmons eventually regrets. ... More and more, it seems that sports fans love to engage in groupthink and appreciate talented writers such as Simmons who can put into words his attachment to the Celtics with sincerity normally reserved for loved ones" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 6/29). SI.com's Richard Deitsch wrote, "The sequence of ESPN reporter Shelley Smith asking Clippers coach Doc Rivers a question, Rivers going off on Bill Simmons, and Simmons firing back at Rivers was riveting, uncomfortable and -- best of all -- honest television on a network that too often manufactures debates and B.S. arguments -- no pun intended. A great moment for ESPN because viewers were treated to authenticity" (SI.com, 6/30).