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Kevin Garnett talks trash. The league should do nothing about it.

Nov 3, 2010, 4:01 PM EDT

Orlando Magic v Boston Celtics, Game 4 Getty Images

If you’ve ever sat near the court for a Kevin Garnett Celtics game, you know this — the man talks a lot of trash. A lot. Some genuinely nasty, personal stuff. He uses it to intimidate and to fire himself up.

Charlie Villanueva thought KG crossed the line last night and called him on it, tweeting that Garnett called him a “cancer patient” during the Celtics thumping of Detroit last night. We don’t know if Garnett actually said that, he and the Celtics have yet to comment. But if you’ve heard KG on the court, it is believable.

Villanueva suffers from alopecia universalis, a condition that includes total body hair loss. He does a lot of charity work on behalf of those with the condition.

Plus, cancer is an area that should be off limits. KG is a quality person and leader who has another persona on the court. Some, such as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo call him a bully once he steps onto the hardwood. However you choose to describe him, KG is going to get backlash for this, as he should. He should pay a price.

But that price should not be from the league. There can be no fine or suspension from the league office.

Technically they could — there can be fines or a suspension, and there are some fans and people out there calling for that right now.

But what Garnett is a vocal practitioner of is common in the NBA. Guys get on each other. Hard. Mountains of trash talk fly around an on an NBA court. It is vicious and nothing is sacred — questioning manhood, family and everything else goes on. Nightly. And has for generations — Michael Jordan was ruthless with his mouth just like his game. Same with Larry Bird. And so on and so on…

If you fine or suspend Garnett for this comment, you are on a slippery slope. A derogatory term for homosexuals gets used during games often, is that worthy of a fine every time? Curse words? Only when a referee hears it?

If you thought the new technical foul enforcement was ludicrous, this would dwarf it with problems. Trash talk takes place on playground courts, high school gyms and the YMCA. Guys grew up doing it. Then they get to the NBA and have to be saints?

There was a time when this could be enforced on the court. When Villanueva or a team’s designated enforcer could inflict some physical pain on Garnett for these antics, and said enforcer would get tossed for the game for it. And that was all. So teams had enforcers. Now the fines and suspensions make that kind of retribution impossible.

Trash talk is part of the game. You don’t have to like it. But you can’t fine and suspend for it, not even over-the-line comments about cancer.

  1. princewidman - Nov 3, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    You guys have got to be kidding me…for such a legitimate and reputable site this is a joke…KEVIN DURANT CLETICS GAME? TRASH TALKING…IT’S KEVIN GARNETT. That’s really poor…like misspelling the first word on a resume or something. Honestly, if I was KD I would be pissed, not to mention if any of your names were blatantly misused and then put into an article let alone the main, bolded headline, I think anybody who vies for houirnalistic credibility or at least common sense would find you guys at fault. Do you guys even read what goes up before you submit?

    • Kurt Helin - Nov 3, 2010 at 5:34 PM

      Again, my apologies to everyone, including Kevin Durant for the mistake. We corrected it it very quickly but in our instant world it was out there too long.

  2. jimeejohnson - Nov 3, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    KG went too far. He will do his image a huge favor by apologizing. But what happens on the court should stay on the court. Charlie Villanueva shouldn’t have tweeted about it. Still, making rude comments about cancer was just plain wrong. Hope KG does the right thing here. Otherwise he willl wind up like that gambling addict Chuck Barkley: not a role model except for losers and fools.

  3. lebronsinsecurity - Nov 3, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    What’s up Kurt.. Not trying to be one of those guys, but I think you meant Kevin Garnett in the title, not Durant..

    • mustbenugs - Nov 3, 2010 at 4:33 PM

      the weird thing is, when this was first posted earlier today it totally said Kevin Garnett.

    • Kurt Helin - Nov 3, 2010 at 4:46 PM

      I did mean Garnett and made the change. My mistake.

  4. ogyu - Nov 3, 2010 at 4:50 PM

    It still says Durant on the front page of the NBA section of the site.

  5. hepette - Nov 3, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    WELL someone should beat the crap outta him for sayin that then!!!!!!!!!!!he’s a complete ahole!!!!!!!

  6. spankyomonkey - Nov 3, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    garnett is a total punk. hope he looses a nut to the big C. his trash talk is old and he can’t even get close to backing it up. back to the hood.

  7. icu84bs - Nov 3, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    Eliminating trash talk at all levels would benefit any / every sport. My Dad taught me to be a good sport, that means keeping one’s trap shut and getting on with the game.


  8. davidsterniscorrupt - Nov 3, 2010 at 5:28 PM

    Reporter/writer Kevin Helin exemplifies the rapid destruction of common decency in this country by his refusal to hold celebrities responsible for their actions. Kevin Garnett is a punk. If he allowed his performance on the court to speak for him, it would speak volumes of his talent, and eliminate the perceived need for psychological prowess through unecessary trash talking. To suggest that Micheal Jordan did it so that makes it ok is a cowardly cop out as well.
    For Kevin Helin to imply that holding players to higher standards, and tone down the trash talking would somehow detract from competition is completely asinine. Reporters/writers used to hold players responsible for their primadona tantrums, press conferences, and trash talking. Now reporters like Kevin Helin exploit players/politicians/ vitriolic statements, and support them in an effort to provoke a response and sell more papers/magazines/or drive more traffic to their blogs so they can feed an already bloated sense of self importance.
    You are an ass, but not a big an ass as Kevin Garnett, Terell Owens, Randy Moss, Manny Ramirez, Charles Barkley and Barry Bonds.

  9. jedtw - Nov 3, 2010 at 5:35 PM

    I think the league should fine Garnett. As you pointed out the NBA does not allow players to enforce each other anymore (which is sensible and good for a multi-billion dollar business) so now the league needs to act to remove bad behaviour from the game.
    On a side note, do you think there is any chance the new CBA will include language that allows a team to void a contract if a players is suspended by the league for x number of games in one season? This would protect the owners and teams from the wrath of Stern and some of the gargantuan suspension he has handed out in recent years.

  10. birchlake - Nov 3, 2010 at 11:06 PM

    Garnett is a punk. Never grew up. Never will grow up

  11. actuallyplayedsports - Nov 4, 2010 at 10:45 AM

    Trash talking is part of any sport. Always was, always will be. Only difference now is some want to cry about it off court/field/track. It’s like Vegas, what happens on the court/field/track stays on the court/field/track. If someone pisses you off on court/field/track step up your game and make ’em pay. If you can’t, when you get off the court/field/track…shut up…you got beat physically and mentally.
    Funny how some of the condemners of bad behavior are advocating harsher sentiments than were allegedly stated.

  12. buktrouble - Nov 4, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    Quote from article: “If you fine or suspend Garnett for this comment, you are on a slippery slope. A derogatory term for homosexuals gets used during games often, is that worthy of a fine every time? Curse words? Only when a referee hears it?”

    Yes! Using a derogatory term for a homosexual should be fined every time. It should be made public every time. Just like if one player calls another the “n-word.” Haven’t you been reading the news recently? Seen the whole epidemic of gay teens killing themselves? Don’t even try to compare it to using a curse word. There is no comparison. I know the culture of sports is one of homophobia, but as a sports journalist, you should be above this sort of thing. It’s your job to call players out on it.

  13. buktrouble - Nov 4, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    Also, to see an article I wrote on the same topic, except in the world of professional wrestling, go here. skip down to the part where I write that I’m about to get serious.

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