Feschuk Gets Offensive

My new years resolution of bashing Toronto Star basketball "columnist" (oooh, parentheses, deal with that!) Dave Feschuk had gotten off to a slow start as he hadn't had much to complain about in first few weeks of 2005. In fact he actually wrote a column about basketball when the Heat were in town last week. But that changed this week with the whole Rafergate episode, and Feschuk has been as giddy as a basketball hating schoolgirl.

If you follow the Raps at all, I'm sure you've heard about Rafer's spat with Sam Mitchell at practice on Saturday and his subsequent 2-game suspension. Now I realize this isn't a good thing. The Raps gave Rafer a boatload of cash in the off-season to be their point guard, and he should be leading them from the one spot regardless of how he and the coach get along. But I guess there have been issues between them and it boiled over. Feschuk couldn't be happier, finally something else he can really dig into.

On Monday he wrote an article saying we all should have seen Rafer's meltdown coming. He goes into great detail on Rafer's past scrapes with the law and suspensions from his college team and the NBA. While these things aren't very flattering for Rafer and do expose some character flaws, they aren't exactly murder. And considering nothing Feschuk mentioned happened after 1999, you'd think we might be able to assume that Rafer is no longer a threat to society. Getting into an argument with your coach isn't exactly a felony. But no, Feschuk connects the dots and figures this was destined to happen from the time he was given a contract in the summer. Not that he said anything about this until the incident happened, but still, he totally knew it was coming.

Today we have what I would consider one of Feschuk's all time "best" (once again!) columns. Basically he writes a whole column taking Rob Babcock to task for comparing the Raptors to a family and talking about dealing with the Raps players as one might deal with their kids. For some reason this whole analogy between a team and a family blows Feschuk's mind, he even entitled the article "Raptors aren't your kids, Rob". Newsflash genius, I think Rob knows the Raptors aren't his kids. I've heard many people use that sports team as family analogy before, I don't think it's something Babcock invented yesterday. Not sure how someone who covers sports for a living would think this is some new radical concept.

As a finale, Feschuk comes up with analogy of his own, comparing Babcock and the Raptors to Diff'rent Strokes. In my opinion, not only is this comparison extremely forced, and lame, but I'd say it's borderline offensive. While leading into this gem, Feschuk says "excuse the pop-culture tangent". Yes, we'd better get the internet ready to research your clever reference. I'm surprised he didn't work "Where's The Beef?" into his column. But to say Babcock is the rich white man trying to show his bad black boys the proper way to act is ridiculous. Even though they don't always act like it, most NBA players are grown men, and Babcock or anyone else who works in management with an NBA team knows they're grown men. Despite the analogy Babcock uses to describe it, the Raps are simply disciplining a player whose behaviour is threatening to disrupt that team. What is wrong with that? I'm not sure what problem Feschuk actually has with this, but he'd be wise to pick a better way to describe it. It's ironic that he takes Babcock to task for his use of a bad analogy, but then he manages to come up with an even worse one.

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