Caught Speeding? Get to the Bench

Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee weighed in on Tyreke Evans' speeding reel. I could probably just leave the post there, forgot to add a link and you all could surmise the rest. Voisin has never been charitable to Evans, and this is the moment in which Evans deserves less charity than ever.

Ergo, Ailene's guns be blastin'.

I'm not going to sit here and disagree with Voisin about the gravity of Evans' mistake. It was a bad one. Worthy of more than community service, a class and loose probation -- he should lose his license for a while, I believe. It was a careless decision to blast off like he was driving a DeLorean, to put all those folks on the road and himself in harm's way.

It was an awful way to be.

But there's a certain separation between mistakes made in life and ability to do a job. That's where Voisin loses me: I get the impression that she's arguing for Evans to have a smaller role on the team because of this speeding incident.

[T]his latest lapse in judgment, occurring less than three years after he drove an SUV involved in a fatal drive-by shooting – he was not charged – suggests a lingering lack of maturity at best and a troubling pattern of irresponsible, perhaps even rebellious behavior at worst.

... and ...

The Kings were damn lucky, and so now, what are they going to do about it? Slow down. Let Evans earn the right to lead. And for now, take away the keys.

How does that even work?

PAUL WESTPHAL: Uh, Tyreke, we have some bad news.

TYREKE EVANS: Yeah, coach?

WESTPHAL: We're no longer allowing you to be the best player on the team.

EVANS: What?

WESTPHAL: We feel that after your speeding incident you're just not ready to lead a team. So Beno is the best player on the team now.

EVANS: What?

WESTPHAL: We thought about it, and your speeding incident showed a real lack of maturity, and we can't have that in our best player. So Beno is officially the best player now. We'll be running the 1-4 flat for him at the end of games now.

EVANS: But coach ...

WESTPHAL: Sorry Tyreke, our decision is final. Oh, also, you also have to stop wearing your diamond earrings. You're no longer good enough to sparkle a ridiculous amount. Only the best players can get away that without looking like a fool.

EVANS: But I averaged 20-5-5 and got a jumper this summer!

WESTPHAL: Sorry. Getting in trouble with the police and being a high-profile professional athlete just don't mix. You'll understand someday when you're older.

 

It's remarkably naked, what Voisin's doing here. She often advocates for the end of the Evans-dominated team on the court. Really, she never misses an opportunity to point out that Evans is more scorer than passer -- even in the Spencer Hawes trade column she found a way to rip Tyreke to High Heavens! So Evans has a bad brush with the law (and possibly death), and so he's bad at basketball, or something. It's exhausting to try to connect Voisin's dots.

I will note, though, Voisin's interestingly different reaction to the DUI of then-Kings coach Eric Musselman. Musselman, you'll remember, got nailed for a DUI in downtown Sacramento during his first preseason with the Kings. After the press conference in which Muss read a prepared statement to media, with his players standing behind him, Voisin penned this column.

Key takeaways:

Yet what makes this entire Musselman ordeal particularly compelling, in an ironic sort of way, is that the messenger -- the Kings' coach who messed up -- isn't who people think he is. He isn't a member of the group. He drinks so infrequently, in fact, that he can count the number of beers he consumes per month.

Speaking in a soft, somber tone throughout the 30-minute conversation, and losing his composure only briefly, he offered no excuses. He never attributed the incident to bad luck or lousy timing. He didn't rip the cops for failing to cut him a break, you know, because of who he is. He winced aloud but never whined. Rather, he acknowledged his poor judgment and assumed responsibility for his behavior, reciting Friday's developments as if he were reading from one of his infamous lists [...]

What makes Musselman's DUI compelling and makes Evans' speeding incident "suggest a lingering lack of maturity at best and a troubling pattern of irresponsible, perhaps even rebellious behavior at worst"?

Evans offered no excuses. He admitted he acted stupidly, and he vowed to not drive like that again. He actually offered no excuses. Musselman, meanwhile, actually made excuses for himself! He told Voisin he never drinks and went through stories about how he doesn't allow alcohol in his house.

Evans basically said, "I f*cked up, and I'm sorry, and it won't happen again." Musselman basically said, "I f*cked up, and I'm sorry, but don't worry I never drink, I'm not even sure how this happened."

Yet Musselman's incident is "compelling" while Evans is on a path to tragedy and bad basketball. I don't get it.

I supposed Evans could have made his citation compelling if he'd had a tearful press conference followed by a 30-minute exclusive interview with Voisin. Maybe he should also put up motivational signs in the practice facility. Columnists seem to like that.

***

When you add in the superfluous rip on Lamont Peterson, it all just adds up to personal bias getting in the way of basic reason. Evans doesn't talk to Voisin. Peterson and Doc don't bow at Voisin's feet. Even Westphal is involved -- he's Evans' top advocate, and he doesn't kiss Voisin's ass like Musselman and even Theus did. The above comparison of the Muss and Evans reactions isn't meant to make fun of Musselman, just to show how easily Voisin has been swayed by her personal feelings.

Voisin is becoming too blinded by her dislike of Evans to report on him while making any semblance of sense. She's losing touch with reality, and Kings fans who read The Bee looking for actual insight and thoughtful commentary are the losers.

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