Early Wednesday morning, venerable sportswriter Stan Hochman went on 94 WIP. Thats when the would-be controversy concerning Evan Turner began.
Hochman, a longtime writer for the Daily News, appeared on Angelo Cataldi and The Morning Team and said, Theres an explanation for Turners inconsistent play. One of these days, the team, with Turners permission, will reveal it. And then the criticism will back off.
Hochman, who later apologized for his remarks (see statement) added that he was given the information with the understanding that he wouldnt reveal the nature of Turners issue. Hochman also said that he believes the problem will be made public before the season is finished.
In the Sixers locker room before Wednesday evenings game, Turner answered several questions, all of which refuted the report.
I heard it through the grapevine, Turner said. I dont really know what to say. I honestly dont have any clue whats being said or whats going on. Everything is going fine for me. I dont really have any problems, you know not any problems worth arguing about compared to what normal people are going through, so everything is fine with me.
One reporter asked whether there was anything mental or physical that Turner is going through behind the scenes that Hochman would have been alluding to.
Not that I know of, Turner said with a laugh. Im just trying to play basketball and get my legs ready for big minutes. Thats pretty much it and all I can attest to.
Another reporter said, If there was a problem, youd probably know about it, huh?
I think youd probably know about it too, Turner said. I think everyone would probably know about it.
Then, from the back of the crowd, WIPs Howard Eskin asked: So would you say the comment is total bullbleep?
I wouldnt call it that, Turner said, again with a laugh. I wouldnt disrespect Stan or anything like that. I was just shocked when people told me about it. People asked me about it and I was just shocked. I really didnt know. I just laughed, kind of. I had no clue what was going on. I get to wake up and play basketball for a living. I dont really have many problems like normal people have. Ive been blessed. To complain would be really childish of me.
Shortly after Turner addressed the remarks, Sixers head coach Doug Collins also denied the report.
When something is said like that, that something is wrong, what is that? Collins asked. Then people start running with it. What is it? Now pretty soon, who knows what its going to come up with. I dont think thats fair. I dont think thats fair to the kid at all. Dont come out and say something like that, and then say well, I cant say anything. Well then dont say anything in the first place. Dont just throw something blanket out there and let people run with it. And I have a tremendous amount of respect for Stan Hochman. Ive known Stan for 40 years. I find him to be one of the most credible guys Ive ever been around. This guy is as good a journalist as there is. But I was just sort of shocked that it would come out like that and sort of open ended like, it will come out when it comes out. Well, what? What are we talking about? I mean, am I wrong? Help me.
E-mail John Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org.