Halifax Rainmen owner Andre
Levingston has softened his stance on the suspension of star Eric Crookshank.
Levingston, in the aftermath of
the firing of head coach and general manager Rick Lewis on Tuesday, said “I never
say never” on the possibility of reinstating the 6-foot-8 forward.
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When Crookshank was banished for
the season on Jan. 14 for “conduct detrimental to the team,” Levingston said
the suspension would not be overturned under any circumstances.
“The one thing we want to make
sure is that he’s learned his lesson, that he knows there are consequences,”
Levingston said. “If there was an opportunity, remotely, for him to come back
this year, it’s because I feel that he has learned his lesson.”
Levingston said the only way
Crookshank can show he’s learned his lesson is to “keep doing what he’s doing,”
working hard in the community and “doing the things he said he was going to do”
when he accepted his suspension.
“He’s been doing a good job with
it,” Levingston said.
Levingston said he sees
Crookshank every day, but the topic of reinstatement has never been discussed.
Levingston said he wants to have
a new head coach in place by Thursday and isn’t focused on Crookshank.
“I’m not even thinking about the
Crookshank issue, to be honest,” Levingston said. “I’m dealing with bringing in
a good head coach who can get us a championship.”
Levingston was quick to clarify
that the Crookshank suspension was his decision, not Lewis’s, and that he’s not
waiting for his new head coach to rubberstamp a reinstatement.
“If Crookshank comes back or does
not come back, that’s going to be my decision, not the coach’s,” he said.
When asked if Crookshank would be
in the lineup for Sunday’s home game against the Vermont Frost Heaves,
Levingston said “I really don’t know the answer to that.”
Crookshank, the franchise's most
recognizable face,averaged more than 20 points and 10 rebounds last
season and was an American Basketball Association all-star.
As for replacing Lewis,
Levingston said interim head coach Shannon Hansen is not a candidate, and
firmly ruled out the possibility of stepping onto the sidelines himself, saying
he “couldn’t mix” ownership with coaching.