A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
The Moped That Ate Golden State
Ellis blew up his ankle and will be lost to America’s Favorite Ninth-Place Team for between two and four months, depending on whose diagnosis you believe. He did it while being what kids always believe themselves to be — bulletproof.
And while we get that Ellis was precluded in his contract from riding a moped and didn’t want to blow his deal completely, the lie and the subsequent delay in revealing that lie made the whole incident look sinister, as though the moped story itself might just be a lie too.
We do, however, know this. The Warriors aren’t going to do anything to Ellis unless they are as stupid as they are cheap. And by that we mean that if they try to fine him, it will be saving money they don’t need to teach a lesson already learned, and to alienate the new centerpiece of the franchise.
If owner Chris Cohan and top aide Bobby Rowell need the cash returned that badly, they’ve got financial problems that pretty much eliminate them from running a pro basketball team.
This one calls for sensible handling, and who better to understand that than team vice president Chris Mullin? Ellis screwed up, whether the instrument involved was a moped, a javelin or a chipper-shredder, and he still has the leverage.
And why? Because there is nothing more debilitating to a franchise than to have an unhappy most important player, especially in basketball, where the most important player carries such an outsized role both on the floor and in the room.
Or do we forget the early Chris Webber, who nearly blew up Don Nelson’s career by getting his master’s in disgruntlement?
Fact is, the Warriors punish Ellis at their own peril, and as we are learning day by day with the Raiders, trying to hold to one principle at the risk of a far larger one is never sensible.
The Raiders are jeopardizing $200 million in player costs by sniveling over $4 million with Lane Kiffin, and the Warriors … well, put it this way: The fact that they held this pointless secret as long as they did indicates that they often let the small stuff get in the way of the big stuff.
A moped accident, frankly, isn’t nearly as bad as most of the speculation about the Ellis injury. Yes it’s dangerous, and yes it’s stupid, and yes Ellis should have admitted it right away and thrown himself upon Mullin’s considerable mercies.
But that’s what young people of all cultures, economics, talents, sizes and genders do with the lizard brains they employ — they know that if A feels good and B feels bad, they do A no matter how much B would help them.
Mullin knows this as a recovering alcoholic, and one can only assume he either has pressed or is pressing Cohan and Rowell to let the incident die without sanction. If Mullin hasn’t or can’t, the Warriors deserve every bit of increasingly bad luck they get in this already cruddy offseason.
Because the rules are always different for different folks. If this were Monta Schmidlap, he’d be dropped from the roof so fast that the street cleaners would never know anything had landed on 11th and Broadway. But it’s Monta Ellis, and the Warriors need to let this one pass.
The second one — no. But this one? Most definitely.