A.I. : Philly Is Negativland

Posted in Basketball at 5:09 pm by

Named a starter to the Eastern Conference squad for the forthcoming NBA All-Star Game, Sixers guard Allen Iverson used the occasion to comment on the sports media psyche in the City Of Brotherly Love. From the Philadelphia Daily News’ Phil Jasner.

“The worst thing is, just reading, looking at the newspapers, you see terrorism on the front page, then you see all the deaths in Philadelphia on the local page and all that negativity, then you get to the sports page, and when there’s supposed to be something gratifying, you see even more negativity,” the 76ers star guard was saying yesterday. “You see the Donovan [McNabb] thing, then you see T.O. [Terrell Owens], then you see the trade talks with me. The whole paper is like a book, ‘Tales Of The Dark Side.’ That’s just the way it is here. I realize it. I understand it’s going to be like that. If I’m here next year, if I’m here the year after, it’s always going to be negativity.”

He didn’t limit his target to one newspaper or any specific media outlet.

He said “Y’all.”

“It’s not like it’s coming from my teammates or coming from the loyal fans, it’s just y’all,” Iverson said. “It’s the newspapers, the media.”

He has a point, to a degree. There have been, over the years, opinion pieces suggesting he should be traded, other pieces saying he should stay. In truth, the Sixers had him traded to the Pistons in the summer of 2000, only to see the deal collapse when the Pistons were unable to include the trade kicker in teammate Matt Geiger’s contract within the constraints of their salary cap. The media did not make that deal; the Sixers did.

If all of that is to be lumped together, that is Iverson’s prerogative. And it is understandable when he says he is tired of it.

“I’ve been tired of it,” he said. “I understand that’s just the way it’s going to be. It’s negativity, all around this place.”

6 responses to “A.I. : Philly Is Negativland”

  1. mts says:

    I thought Philly’s craptacular vibe was what made this city so appealing?!

  2. CSTB says:

    there’s a generally hateful vibe throughout the northeast, at least where sports are concerned. fans and media. But I’d hesitate to say Philly’s the worst. I suspect A.I. would be just as fed up if he’d spent the last 6 years in Boston or NYC

  3. kt says:

    who would you rather have writing about you every day, conlon or shaughnessy? at least the globe has bob ryan. and, er, ron borges.

    i’ve noticed that chicago’s press seems to have a good deal of cheerleader in it except for maybelline girl jay marriotti. but he’s more incompetant than spiteful.

  4. David Roth says:

    I spent only a very brief time in Philadelphia, and I liked it. But it was easily the most negative city I’ve ever been to. At shows and at sporting events, there was more free-flowing anger than I’ve ever been around. Really real Philly people probably have more perspective on this than me (does Chuck Meehan care about hoops?), and some of this may be due to the fact that I’ve always heard Philadelphia was a nasty town, but I was struck by how angry it was basically every time I went out to a big event there. Although, to be honest, they had to cheer for Ricky Jordan and Ron Anderson and Bobby Hoying. I’d probably be pissed, too.

    This point may be tangential, but as harsh as the NY tabloids can be in terms of sports coverage, I’ve always seen the Post (and even the Daily News, to a degree) as fairly generous until they turn on someone. And with the Post, especially, that seems to break down along racial lines (i.e. the current wilding of Isiah Thomas). I don’t know if the Inky is like that or not. There’s a tabloid in Philly, too, right?

  5. tim hinely says:

    hateful vibe in the noretheast is right……haven’t spent much time at sporting events in boston but i do think philly had nyc beat. obnoxious, rude, terminally pissed off, philly fans are all those things and more. it might seem appealing from a distance but when you’re there, in the thick of it (like at an eagles game) , you just wanna get the fuck away (or clock someone).

  6. Chuck Meehan says:

    David- I’m a casual as far as hoops , but I kinda think that Iverson reminds me of Eagles-era Randall Cunningham as he is uniquely and freakishly talented where its amazing to watch him play, but his talent just cant fit into a solid team framework that wins a team championship. That, or the 76ers should get somebody with some board presence.
    I really dont think that its the print media in Philadelphia that can be blamed as I dont think the ignoroid element of Philly sports fans bother to read newspapers. I think that the Inquirer/Daily News team beat writers and general columnists (save the incomprehensible jabbering old slob Bill Conlin and Screaming A) are actually pretty good (with particular props to the Inquirers Phil Sheridan). The embarrassment as far as sports media in Philly comes from the talk-radio station WIP 610. I could go on and on about this station but will say that when a Nats fan pal from DC came up to CBP to catch a game, he was flabbergasted at people in his right-field lower level section heckling Bobby Abreu with racial slurs and no one else in the section even as much as cut a disapproving look. This is a result of a barrage of Abreu-bashing invective that has gone on for years and years. Go figure. I think Gerard is correct in saying that the Philly nasties may not be worse than NY/Boston nasties, but I am more familiar with the Philly crowd and they do put belligerents like Buddy Ryan (a brilliant defensive coordinator who lead the Eagles to perennial first-round playoff crapout losses due to his total disdain of offense) and Larry Bowa on a pedestal while dogging and riding players like Mike Schmidt and Bobby Abreu.

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