Home Dick Vitale blocked me on Twitter: How I got to this lowly state

Dick Vitale blocked me on Twitter: How I got to this lowly state


Update: Peace overture from Dickie V So, yeah, I guess I can’t stay mad at Mr. Vitale. All is forgiven, no harm, no foul, etc. Big ups to Vitale for reaching out.


Original Post: 12:36 a.m. Sunday Dick Vitale pulled himself away from Coach K’s birthday party Saturday night to lay a Twitter smackdown on yours truly.

Wow, not only blocked by Dick Vitale on Twitter, but with a dose of psychoanalysis to boot. More on my “negative bitter way of life” later.

But first, the issue at hand: namely, what in the world could I have done to have been doused with so much venom from our American sports icon?

Well, it starts here.

“Stop whining about traveling”? Vitale is calling out an entire fan base here for … what? Being a fan base?

It’s hard to imagine that Virginia fans are the only group out there, among 351 different D1 fan bases, that feels that its favorite team just got hosed after a tight loss ends on a controversial play.

And, yeah, that basket by Grayson Allen at the end of the Duke-Virginia game was a slightly controversial play.

It wasn’t called, so who cares, ultimately, but Allen jump-stopped, stepped, jumped, landed, then shot the ball, two clear violations on one play.

Ah, but Vitale has an answer for that.

“(W)hat about being fouled.”

OK, what about “being fouled”? Allen gave Virginia defender Marial Shayok a forearm shiver to clear space in the lane as he feet were imitating the Jackson Five doing the moonwalk.

Offensive foul, anybody?

No-call there, too, but you expect that. Because as Dickie V tweeted later in this series of tweets:

Which is fine, OK, no, actually it’s bullshit, but it is the conventional wisdom, such as this qualifies as wisdom. The game is called one way for 39 minutes, and a different way in the final minute, and this somehow is “let(ting) the players determine the finish.”

Letting an offensive player travel, twice, and push off to clear space is letting the offensive player “determine the finish.” The defensive player who has to check a guy who is more a tailback on a counter trey than anything resembling a basketball player playing by basketball rules, he “determine(s)” nothing.

One other tweet in this odd series from Dickie V had him glowing over the victory for Coach K on his 69th birthday.

So much for any sense that Vitale works not as a press flunky for Duke but instead for ESPN, at least on paper a sports network with no interest in the outcome of the game.

We all know, of course, how ESPN butters its bread, and it’s not with the Virginias of the world getting in the way of Duke-North Carolina on Wednesday night, which we were only reminded was coming up on Wednesday night about 9 million times during the broadcast.

Even so, Vitale calling out Virginia fans while glowing about how great it was for Duke to get the win for his buddy, Coach K, and old-schooling about how players need to determine games, it’s all a bit much.

So I retweeted Vitale, and offered my own editorial spins.

Yes, a bit harsh, but allow me some context. For years, I’ve defended the guy as a lone voice in the wilderness among every basketball fan that I know, and I do not exaggerate. I don’t know a single basketball fan – not saying that there aren’t any, just that I don’t know them – who thinks Vitale adds anything of value to a basketball broadcast.

My take has been, sure, he offers nothing, absolutely nothing, as an X’s and O’s analyst, but, he’s Dickie V. Guy loves the game, and that comes through his mic.

His detractors, and they are legion, have been calling for him to retire, or for ESPN to retire him, for years.

Still, yeah, a bit harsh on my part.

He has bills to pay, like everybody else.

I cover Virginia athletics. I’m a University of Virginia graduate. Google loves AugustaFreePress.com for its UVA sports jones and rewards it with its SEO blessings.

All that pointed out, and I get in trouble with the fan base for writing critically about the ‘Hoos – most recently about Anthony Gill’s defensive deficiencies, back in the fall for suggesting that the school would retain trainwreck Mike London as the football coach, back in the spring for point-blank writing that UVA baseball didn’t deserve an NCAA Tournament berth (on the way to a national title; I still think the Cavs didn’t deserve a berth, by the way).

So, I’m biased, and I still write and think and talk and everything else critically about UVA athletics.

I don’t work for ESPN and glow over how my buddy got a big win on his birthday and shout down fans of the other team as being whiners for pointing out obvious no-calls that allowed it to happen.

I’ve already made this point here. Next …

Ah, the crap sandwich that was the four-minute stretch of the second half where Allen got to the line four times on dribble drives on non-shooting fouls.

Duke’s guards were arm-barring Virginia guards all game long, but it was Virginia getting assessed for 14 fouls in the second half to Duke’s eight.

Duke went to the line 14 times in the last 9:28; Virginia shot five free throws in that span.

Duke scored two baskets from the field in that period of time. Doesn’t take much to argue that Duke was only able to stay in the game because the refs kept sending them to the line.

To argue, then, that the refs let the players determine the finish is, well, this is Dickie V we’re talking about here.

So, banned by Dickie V. Honestly, part of me is a little hurt by the whole thing. Deservedly so, sure, for suggesting that he retire in one of the responses.

Again, not my best moment, there.

But then I think, what the hell? The guy has 726,000 Twitter followers, and one guy retweets him with criticisms, and he has to make a public point of banning him?

I’m not acting like I haven’t resorted to banning people from commenting on the AFP website. Had to do so a couple of weeks ago after a reader went ballistic on me for suggesting that sophomore forward Isaiah Wilkins, at the time relegated to the bench, should be starting, and that his numbers suggested that he was comparable to Darion Atkins and Akil Mitchell in their sophomore seasons.

That back-and-forth went on for a few days, over a few dozen comments, on a relatively obscure Virginia-based news website. Not one quick series of tweets between some no-name nobody (to be clear, I’m referring to me as the no-name nobody) and the star of ESPN, who, honestly, could’ve ignored the hell out of me, and that would have been the end of it.

Instead, dude went nuclear.

“Negative bitter way of life.”

Nice touch.

Guy gets paid handsomely to watch basketball games, complains the entire game about having to sit in the rafters, complains last year when ESPN took him off Carolina-Duke, complains on Twitter when the entire world doesn’t 100 percent agree with his odd pronouncements, and I’m the one with the “negative bitter way of life.”

Not that anybody cares, but my life is awesome. I’m married to and work every day with the love of my life. I recently lost more than 100 pounds, ran my first marathon two months ago, am in training for my second one coming up in six weeks.

My website, obscure as it is, gets millions of page views a month. I wake up every day looking forward to what I get to write about next, and that I make a really good living doing so.

But no, I’m not Dick Vitale. He’s infinitely more important than me.

I declare myself to have been duly chastened.

Back to my bitter little corner of the world I go.

– Column by Chris Graham



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