Maryland fans can breathe easy – it turns out former Terp Jordan Williams wasn’t taking advice on the NBA draft from ESPN Sportscenter anchor Scott Van Pelt. It was all a misunderstanding.
“I had nothing to do with any decision that he made,” Van Pelt [told the Washington Post]. “I didn’t inform him what to do. I didn’t tell him, ‘Here’s what I think.’ None of that … “There’s no editorializing on my part. There’s no: ‘You should go. You should stay.’ It’s just, ‘Here’s what the feedback is that you asked for,’ and that’s it. So I don’t know, he said I played a huge role? It’s his words, but his reaction to it today was that wasn’t what he meant.”
Van Pelt even got Jordan Williams to call the reporter who first reported the story to clear things up. Williams changed his tune:
“It’s going around the Internet like he was my main adviser and that he was the main reason why I left. That’s not the case at all. All I did was ask him to talk to the people that he knew and get some feedback from the guys he knows, and he just gave me the feedback. That’s all it was. He took it out of his time to help me out, as far as giving me feedback. It wasn’t like he was trying to convince me to go one way or the other, you know what I’m saying?”
With that brief dust-up behind him, Van Pelt woke up this morning to another mini-controversy: John Feinstein used the Jordan Williams incident to rehash an old feud he had with Van Pelt:
Van Pelt and I had a disagreement last year because I commented on his behavior while sitting in the stands at a Duke-Maryland game in College Park. He took offense to my saying that, as a public figure, who at times talked about college basketball on TV and radio, he needed to show some decorum, even while sitting in the stands. I wondered how people would react if say, Jay Bilas or I sat in the stands at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Duke gear and yelled at officials during a game.
Scott took offense and called me and we had a good talk and ended up, I think, agreeing to disagree. (He also took a shot a my brother during a speech at Burning Tree last summer since my brother had been the one who told me how Van Pelt behaved. For the record, my brother is close to Gary Williams and was sitting in front of Van Pelt because—like Scott—he’d been given tickets by Gary. Anyway, Scott, did you think someone wouldn’t report your crack back to me? I do have other sources).
So Van Pelt privately calls Feinstein to discuss an issue, but Feinstein prefers to put his thoughts on his blog. Interesting. Mike Lupica should try really, really hard to get these two a seat on the Sports Reporters one Sunday morning. I reached out to Van Pelt this morning about the blog post, and at first he wasn’t interested in commenting. Then he emailed me this:
As much fun as it would be to publicly fire back, I won’t. There is a reason I called him to discuss the Duke game – I had enough professional respect and common courtesy to keep my thoughts on the matter private. Now he chooses to publicly rip me again, but I won’t return fire. I’ll see him @ Congressional maybe? If not, I don’t care enough to bother. Honestly, what’s the point ? You can’t tell the man anything anyway, he’s the arbiter of all things.
Is it too late for me to try and get a media credential for the Congressional? I’m a sucker for a good DelMarVa media feud.
[Feinstein link via DC Sports Bog]