A whole bunch of links

A whole bunch of stuff to read today, so let's get started.

On the matter of Brendan Haywood:

Four takes you absolutely must read:

And one take defending Haywood:

Of the five, I respect Kevin's take the most.  He has more credibility on this than anyone else, being that he's come out and has been in a locker room as athletes were making homophobic jokes.  His take is basically, yeah, it really sucks and it's really painful, but this is a long battle we're fighting and the best thing we can do is push toward mutual understanding.  Neither side can slog this off as nothing, instead, we should be discussing the issues and trying to provide understanding to people who have been very insulated from big social issues their entire lives. 

That's probably what I found most annoying about Haywood's "apology."  It read as a "it was just a little joke, it shouldn't have been blown out of proportion, I don't hate gays," when it should be a major issue that's discussed.  The worst thing that can happen is that we all shout at Haywood and Haywood shrugs it off like it's no big deal.  The deed's been done, now, we must all learn from it.  Whether Haywood intended it as a joke is irrelevant because it's a huge social issue that scares a lot of people.  Every side needs more understanding, including Haywood.

I also cannot endorse under any circumstances the "he's just speaking his mind" excuse.  This isn't like Gilbert Arenas bashing Nate McMillan and Mike D'Antoni and saying he'll drop 50 on them.  This is something that, frankly, Haywood has absolutely no experience that could make him a credible voice on this topic.  He's never dealt with the type of stigma that gay athletes (and frankly, any gay person) has to face in a pretty intolerant world.  He's possibly never had a friend who has come out and explained all that stuff to him.  For him to suddenly chime in publicly on a topic of which he probably knows little about is a problem.  You wouldn't put yourself out there with a controversial view on a topic you don't understand either. 

In short, this episode should not be forgotten and should be discussed.  Kevin suggested Haywood participate in a True Hoop discussion on the matter.  That's something that I believe Haywood owes us all, whether he was joking or not.

More links below the jump:

Randy Foye

Lots of stuff about Randy Foye today:

-Michael Lee: Getting to know Randy Foye

Foye credited McHale for pushing his game to new heights. "He just let me go. It was no more if I make a mistake, someone saying anything to me; if I have a turnover, someone looking at me wrong and taking me out of the game. It was, 'Randy, you be you,' " Foye said. "I was myself. I was free. I was free and before I knew it, I'd have 25 points."

(snip)

In his three years in Minnesota, Foye was dogged with comparisons to two-time all-star Brandon Roy, the player McHale dealt to Portland for Foye's rights.

"I think my second year, when I got hurt and he became an all-star, that's when it got pretty bad," said Foye, who suffered a stress reaction in his left patella before his second season. "But my first year, I was second in [rookie of the year] voting and he was rookie of the year. When I got hurt, he was blowing up and we was losing. People got restless.

"It's good to get a fresh start," Foye said. "Coming here, I know it won't be questions about that because y'all [Washington] didn't trade him."

-NBA.com video about Randy Foye growing up

-Truth About It: Is Randy Foye the Difference Maker?

-I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't point you all to Randy Foye's foundation, which works to give back in his home city of Newark.  I've got Newark on my mind because Newark mayor Cory Booker gave the keynote address at my graduation.  He's a very inspiring guy and it's great to see other people working to improve a city that really needs it. 

Projections, projections

-NBA.com Power Rankings: Wizards are 9th

With Gilbert Arenas looking spry in workouts and pro-am action and added depth with Randy Foye and Mike Miller, the Wizards should be the fourth best team in the East. But they're lacking beef on the frontline, which will really hurt them against the top three.

-Ira Winderman, Miami Sun-Sentinel reporter, rates the Southeast Division teams' offseasons:

The Wizards have added proven veterans Mike Miller, Randy Foye and Fabricio Oberto at the cost of little more than a draft choice. A previously questionable backcourt now has plenty of answers.

-Lang Whitaker, SLAM

5. Washington — I’m not quite sure what to make of the Wizards. Considering they’ve got a lot of really good players and a coach who is at the least capable and will just be beginning his grace period, I think the Wiz could be a nice team in the East. A lot is riding on the health of Gilbert Arenas, as well.

Other stuff

-NBA.com lists the top 20 offseason moves in NBA history since 1990.  The Wizards make the list twice; once as a negative for the Rip Hamilton-Jerry Stackhouse trade and once as a positive for the Antawn Jamison trade. 

-The Wizards.com blog checks in with Andray Blatche

-Former Bullet bash brother Jeff Ruland just took the coaching job at the University of the District of Columbia.

-The Washington Times profiles former superagent David Falk.  Man, enough Falk already!

-Peachtree Hoops has an interesting discussion about whether Atlanta's ownership group, the Atlanta Spirit, qualify as good owners.  I bring this up because Drew tries to qualify criteria for what makes a good owner, concluding that the only really good way we have to measure owner success as a fan is winning.  I'd be curious to see how people feel Abe Pollin does when going through Drew's test.

-Celtics Blog reminds everyone that "it all comes down to Kevin Garnett" for the Celtics.  Sub "Celtics" with "Wizards" and "Kevin Garnett" with "Gilbert Arenas," and the story remains the same.

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