For the past two seasons, I aligned myself with the “Jason Levien Brain Trust.” I bought it. I believed in the front office, and unashamedly too. Yet I did some other believing which… I am not too proud of doing. First step to healing your problems is by admitting them, right? Well, here it goes.
I criticized Lionel Hollins publicly for mismanaging end of games, rotations and challenging his boss in the public space. The criticism was warranted I suppose, but the bitterness from which it was rooted was not. After all, I didn’t exclaim “Fire Dave Joerger!” after his end of game and rotational meltdowns this season. Hypocrite much, Zach?
I, likewise, criticized Grizzlies beat writer for the Commercial Appeal, Ron Tillery. I loathed his belittling of the Grizzlies front office and looked at his constant remembrance of Lionel Hollins as petty cheap shots to fans and the Grizzlies organization. I followed him on Twitter, read his articles and tuned in to the radio to hear him talk, simply so I could criticize what he was saying and pile on to the running narrative that he doesn’t deserve to have the job he has. Again, I was deeply wrong.
I defended Levien on the radio and even wrote stories breaking down what he was saying. (Yes, he actually did say things at times.) I wasn’t close to the guy, but he was always pleasant to me in the locker room and around the media.
Levien manufactured and sold a great product. What the Grizzlies became under his direction was fantastic. The roster moves, the business operations, the community involvement, it was all brilliant. However, it all came crashing down last week for what seems to be mismanaging the only guy who could fire him. I was blown away. I immediately came to Levien’s defense, blaming Robert Pera and calling him a meddling owner with a giant ego who wants it his way or the highway. It was wrong.
I couldn’t have known what was going on, and neither could you, I suppose. I didn’t know enough, and still don’t. However, I could have done things differently.
I’d like to take this blogspace to apologize, if it’s not too late. I doubt any of these men will read this nor would they care what a measly blogger like me has to say. But since I publicly showed my arrogance and bitterness, I’d like to publicly apologize.
To Lionel Hollins, I apologize for my bitterness and hypocrisy. You are a great coach who has his own way of doing things. That’s okay. Maybe you aren’t the best fit for Memphis or other teams, but that doesn’t make it right for me to be bitter towards you. After all, you took us to the best season and playoffs ever in 2013! Please forgive me.
To Ron Tillery, I apologize for my contempt, pride, bitterness, and arrogance. You are doing your job. You have done that job for years. I have disagreed with you and may in the future, but when does disagreement ever lend itself to hatred? It should never. I tried to fall in line by making myself fit into a mold where it was “cool” to be. I succumbed to the peer pressure. You didn’t deserve that. No one does. For that, I apologize. Please forgive me.
To Robert Pera, I apologize for not giving you a chance. I should have been willing to hear both sides before jumping to conclusions. It’s so easy to do these days. I am willing to give you a chance. I love this organization. I am a fan first, blogger/media member second. I want to see Memphis (the organization and the city) succeed and win a championship. I know you do too. I am trusting you to make those moves. If we disagree, that’s ok. No more animosity and bitterness.
To Grizz Nation, my friends in the media, and the readers of this blog, I apologize for being a poor example. We shouldn’t hate people. There is no need for that in our society. We can disagree and still get along. We can still work together, read each other’s writings and hang out. I’m not perfect and I know mistakes happen. But I want to extend the same grace to each of you that I hope you extend to me when I get it wrong.
Finally, Jason Levien did some things that hurt the relationship with Robert Pera, Chris Wallace and Lionel Hollins (and maybe others). However he did nothing to us as fans. We have no reason to be bitter or hostile towards him. Let’s remember our friend Beno in the midst of this situation:
I wrote this because I know many others feel the same way as me. If you’re in the same boat, let’s start new today. No more hypocrisy. Let love win and consider others before yourself.
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What this Grizz drama has done most for me is reveal cognitive processing for media members. I love cognitive marketing so it's fun for me.
— Zach Thomas (@zacharytthomas) May 27, 2014