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Raptor devotees need reality check

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“Unless the (Toronto Raptors) defy the odds and go deep into the playoffs, (head coach Sam) Mitchell’s contract will be allowed to expire after the season and he will be replaced.”





While misleading and mindless cheerleading for the Raptors continues to emanate from ignorant, irresponsible and self-serving suckups and shameless shills in the Toronto media — Leo Rautins, for instance, actually suggested during a broadcast last week that the club’s acquisition of insignificant guard Juan Dixon was “tremendous” — honest and objective appraisals of the team are coming out of the United States.


Here’s a case in point from Marc Stein, ESPN’s NBA insider: “The Raptors are not a good team,” Stein said on the weekend. “They’re a fun team, but they’re too young to be good. If they win their division, it’ll only be because they happen to play in what may well be the worst division in NBA history.”





•The Fan 590 radio station actually allows Raptors employee/salesman/­announcer Chuck Swirsky to serve as a host of one of its shows but, fortunately, it also employs a sensible update person named Barb DiGiulio, who keeps Swirsky in check.


Such was the case last week when Swirsky decided to attack the nicknames of NBA teams outside of Toronto. He went on about how he considers the Wizards a bad name for the Washington team.


“Well,” DiGiulio said, “what about the Raptors? What do Raptors have to do with Toronto?”


Obviously stumped, Swirsky emerged with an incomprehensible response during some blatant bafflegab before changing the subject.


Give Swirsky credit, though. He knows how to sell the Raptors and himself and he has managed to brainwash thousands of fans and even media types.


Thankfully, folks such as DiGiulio won’t merely listen to his nonsense without providing perspective and challenges.





•Accolades are being heaped by Toronto media types on the Raptors’ irascible and arrogant coach, Sam Mitchell, but here’s what you should really know:


Unless the team defies the odds and goes deep into the playoffs, Mitchell’s contract will be allowed to expire after the season and he will be replaced.


And then Swirsky can start deriding Mitchell, just as he cuts up many other ex-Raptors. Swirsky seems to think they’re good guys when they’re with the Raptors, but he can be awfully critical of them when they leave. He sure takes a lot of cheap shots at Vince Carter, for instance, and yet he glorified the all-star by calling him “Air Canada” and other names of worship during his Toronto years.


And then, just the other day, Swirsky took a shot at ex-Raptor Lamond Murray, suggesting on his show that he was poorly behaved in Toronto. Strangely, though, I cannot recall Swirsky being critical of Murray while he was with the Raptors.



marty.york@metronews.ca

 
 
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