After the Los Angeles Lakers were defeated once again on Monday night, this time by his old team the Phoenix Suns, head coach Mike D’Antoni committed one of the most unforgivable sins in sports.
He lashed out at the fans.
In answering a question from a media member about the fan base being discouraged, given the troubles they’ve endured all season, D’Antoni suggested that maybe if they are, they should find another rooting interest:
“If they’re discouraged, then find another team to root for,” said D’Antoni on Monday. “We’re not going to give up. Are you kidding me? Discouraged? That’s not even fair to these guys.”
You never want to suggest this about any fan base, but this would certainly not go over well with the Lakers faithful, who is among the most passionate in all of sports.
On Tuesday, though, D’Antoni issued an apology to every Lakers fan for his off-handed comments:
“I was an idiot last night,” said D’Antoni after the Lakers walkthrough on Tuesday, in preparation for their Christmas Day game against the Miami Heat. “I was out of my mind. I was ticked off. We didn’t play well … so I said some stuff I shouldn’t have. That’s me. I just made a mistake.”
“We’ve got a team that is overachieving. We have a lot of injuries and we’re in a tough state right now. We need everybody to be pulling with us. It’s going to take the whole village to get this done,” he said. “That was the meaning, I just said it wrong. It came out wrong because I was agitated. I apologize.”
While the gesture was the correct one, I’m not sure that will save his reputation with the Los Angeles fans, which was already possibly strained beyond repair to begin with.