Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“My family’s very important to me,” said the big man. “For me, I’m in more of a unique situation because this is our first year here (in Boston) and my wife, we all moved in the middle of the pregnancy. And just a lot going on. So I just felt like it was important for me to really be there, supporting her. And we have a son as well. So for her, it’s been a lot thrown at her these past few months. So I know that it meant a lot for me to be there with her, and knowing our schedule ahead and everything. So I’m just very happy that the Celtics really take the time and they consider us not only as players but as people. And people that have families.”
Horford was the third player in the past six months whom the Celtics allowed to miss games for newborns (Jonas Jerebko and Avery Bradley each welcomed children earlier in the calendar year).
Coach Brad Stevens has stressed that family comes before all else for members of the organization.
“I think our greatest responsibilities are as sons, husbands, fathers. I think that’s your No. 1 job,” Stevens said. “We’re thrilled for the Horfords and we’re thrilled to have Al back at practice [Tuesday] and be ready to go [Wednesday]. Obviously, family is really really important.”
To his credit, CSNNE cohost Kyle Draper challenged Felger, saying, “I mean you’re the ultimate tough guy. We know that. You probably would’ve done it all — delivered the baby, too, then hopped on the plane and went down there. Here’s the thing about Al Horford’s decision to stay with his family for the birth of his child … it’s a November basketball game against one of the worst teams in the league.”
I was really hoping to be able to ignore the absurd criticism of Horford. The story line is so unnecessary – Al’s coaches and teammates supported his decision, and the Celtics won the game he missed. But since the Morning Dump exists to summarize and comment on the stories of the day, and since in the past 24 hours everybody who covers the Celtics has weighed in, too, let’s do this.
What started as a stupid rant from a sports-talk troll grew into the big story of the day because of two factors. The first is that said troll and others like him earn a pretty good living by selling their souls and barfing up the hottest of hot takes. They’ll say anything, it seems, if it will get them more attention and clicks/ratings. You get rich and famous in sports talk not by being sensible, but by being as outrageous and controversial as possible. And it works because we react to it, much as we are doing – regrettably – right here.
However, notice that Horford took the high road in his response. That says plenty about the type of person he is.
The second factor is that Horford had just barely returned to the lineup after sitting out nine games with a concussion. When the big man didn’t bounce right back from that brain injury, some fans got impatient and wondered what was taking so long. Comments appeared on Twitter along the lines of: “Horford is soft! He’s making all this money and he’s not playing!” And on Monday, probably many of those same people were saying, “What?! He’s missing another game?!” The sports-talk troll’s comments amplified that theme.
Ironically, last night Blake Griffin sat out of the Clippers’ game versus the Nets just for rest. And L.A. lost (dammit!). LeBron James did the same last week (and the Cavs also lost). The criticism of Horford was already unfair, but in light of healthy players taking a break just one month into the season, it’s exceptionally misguided.
In conclusion, it would be great if we’d a) stop feeding the trolls, and b) stop holding athletes to standards that we couldn’t match (because every single one of us would absolutely skip a day of work to be with our newborn). Will that happen? No. But we can dream.
Related: CSNNE – Everybody Is Mad At Mike Felger Over His Al Horford Take | Horford Puts Family First, And Celtics Wholeheartedly Agree | Chin: Any Sort Of Backlash To Al Horford Is Ridiculous (video) | Deadspin – Al Horford’s Sister Tells Radio Doofus To Fuck Off Over His Bad Paternity Leave Take | CBS Boston – Robb: Al Horford Opens Up About His Decision To Take Paternal Leave From Celtics | Providence Journal – Celtics’ Al Horford says he pays no mind to media trolls | Herald – Oh baby! Al Horford returns to Celtics in time for practice
On Page 2: Plays of the Week
On Page 3: Win, lose, or tie
Boston is 7-1 this season when Stevens wears a tie and a mere 3-6 when he does not. Call it happenstance if you prefer but with 20 percent of the season completed, the data can no longer be ignored.
What’s harder to decipher is when and why Stevens wears a tie. He’s never gone more than two games in a row with the same look. He doesn’t stick to any discernible pattern based on location, or what jersey his players are wearing. He’s blown off Wear a Tie Wednesday and brazenly busted out neckwear on Casual Fridays. […]
“I don’t know my record with the tie but I know that’s being bantered about,” said Stevens. “I also know that, when you lose however many games good teams lose in this league — what is it, if you win 50, you lose 32 — like that’s 32 ways to screw up being superstitious. I’ve lost all my superstitions. If I had any coming in, they’re all gone.”
Advanced stats are getting a bit out of control.
And, finally: Please enjoy this Doc Rivers meltdown
Doc Rivers went berserk last night when he was hit with a technical, and then ejected, during overtime of the Clippers’ loss at Brooklyn (dammit!). Doc was complaining to one referee about a call, when ref Ken Mauer butted in and T’d up the coach from the opposite side of the court. (Nothing better than an official with an over-the-top ego.)
Doc’s epic eruption will no doubt be immortalized in internet memes but, meantime, enjoy the entire show.
The Rest of the Links: