Several days ago we published a story about comments that Phoenix Suns' center Marcin Gortat made about fellow Suns' center Robin Lopez. The story was based on answers Gortat gave in a gym in Lublin, Poland that were captured on You Tube.
In the video, which we had translated by several sources, Gortat was asked about his relationship with Lopez and talked about their first meeting and then went on to describe his thoughts on winning the starting job from Lopez.
The story was picked up by multiple outlets which prompted a response from Gortat via Twitter:
Twitter / @MGortat: i see people trying to put ...
i see people trying to put me in f... up spot!!!! I heard im dogging my team mate????I wish to talk to that person he said that!
We offered (via Twitter) to set up a call with Gortat so he could clarify his comments but he didn't respond. We wanted to be fair to the Suns' center and make sure he had every opportunity to correct anything about the story that we got wrong so we contacted Polish sports writer Łukasz Cegliński of media company Agora SA for help.
Cegliński caught up with Gortat in Warsaw this past weekend where he was preparing to join the Polish national team in Legionowo to begin getting ready for the European Championships later in August.
Cegliński asked Gortat about the story and provided these responses from Marcin:
- I will not comment anymore, because what more can I say. The situation was such, and not another. If someone does not play, does not show on the pitch with a good hand, giving of himself 110 percent., then someone else will take its place. NBA is a business and it looks like that.
- In Lublin I got a question about the first contact with Lopez and I said how it looked like. Does this have any impact on our relationship? I do not know. You could say that the impact on our relationship had my transfer.
- My statement was taken out of context and blown to the rank of the scandal, and it was not. It was just my first contact with Robin, who had no influence on me. I came to Phoenix to win a first place in the first five (starting job). And will I be with this friend of Robin, or not, it's no less important.
Perhaps is was unfair of us to categorize Gortat's original comments as "dogging" Lopez. We should celebrate and appreciate candid comments from athletes. At the same time, when a player makes comments about a teammate, that's news.
Gortat's issue seems to be with us "looking for stupid stories":
Twitter / @MGortat: people looking for some st ...
people looking for some stupid stores and please find something better than that!!! I had never problem with Robin. We r teammates
He has a point. We would much rather be writing about actual basketball games but the reality is the players are more than just athletes. They are celebrities and fans want to know about them and our job is to provide that information.
There are lines we won't cross regarding non-basketball related stories but this isn't one of them since it potentially impacts the performance of the team. Maybe if it happened more often it wouldn't be "news" but in the world we live in we felt Gortat's comments were noteworthy.