View Full Version : Stern criticizes Ward

04-23-01, 11:23 PM
The article in the NYTimes refered to below is at http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/22/magazine/22KNICKS.html (its free but you need to register to view the article). Its worth checking out to get some idea of what a weird life playing in the NBA must be.

I know there's been some discussion of Van Gundy's dislike (? - probably not the right word, but anyway) of the religious activities within the team & I don't pretend to understand entirely what's going on, but in light of Ward's comments, it looks like Van Gundy has a point.


April 23, 2001
Stern Criticizes Charlie Ward

NEW YORK (AP) -- Charlie Ward apologized to his team, the NBA and New York Knicks fans Monday night after commissioner David Stern condemned Ward's religious ``zealotry.''

Ward was booed at Madison Square Garden on Sunday for statements he made about Jews in a New York Times Magazine story. Ward, who claimed his statements were taken out of context, described Jews as stubborn and said they persecute Christians every day.

``I want to truly apologize to everybody who was offended by the New York Times Magazine story. I will say again that I would never condemn or criticize any group or religion. That is not who I am,'' Ward said.

Earlier Monday, Stern commented on the controversy as it remained a hot topic of debate in New York.

``In yesterday's New York Times Magazine, statements were attributed to Charlie Ward that stereotype Jews and attempt to utilize biblical references to describe persecution of Christians by Jews,'' Stern said. ``Unfortunately, Ward's comments, and his subsequent confirmation of them, demonstrate zealotry of all types is intolerant and divisive.''

In the article, Ward and several of his teammates took part in a Bible study class prior to a game against Milwaukee and questioned the author, who is Jewish, about the Old Testament, cultural identity and dietary laws.

Ward is quoted as saying: ``Jews are stubborn. Tell me, why did they persecute Jesus unless he knew something they didn't want to accept? They had his blood on their hands.''

Ward continued on, according to the article: ``There are Christians getting persecuted by Jews every day. There's been books written about this -- people who are raised Jewish and find Christ, and then their parents stop talking to them.''

The story refused to die down over the past few days, with Ward continuing to defend his remarks -- even after he was booed loudly by the home crowd in the Knicks' playoff game against Toronto.

Ward had been warned in the past by Knicks executives not to use the locker room as his pulpit.

``Despite suggestions that the NBA should penalize Ward for his words, I am not planning to do so,'' Stern said. ``Ward would have been better off not to have uttered his uninformed and ill-founded statements, but I do not wish to enhance his sense of martyrdom by penalizing him for giving them public voice.

``He will have to accept the reactions and judgments of fans and all fair-minded people who have been offended.''

Ward said he would open a dialogue with Yechiel Eckstein, president and founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, in an effort to heal the wounds of the last few days.

``I also want to apologize to my teammates, the Knicks organization, the fans and the NBA for the distraction this has caused,'' Ward said. ``At this time we want our focus to be toward bringing home an NBA championship. I've always played hard for this team and I've tried during my time in the NBA to stand for all that is positive in the league.''

Slippery Elm
04-23-01, 11:40 PM
And Rocker got vilified and suspended for a month, later cut down on appeal to two weeks.

The old racial double standard in America again.

04-24-01, 12:26 AM
Ward sure did put his foot in his mouth. I can kinda(?:confused: ) see where he's going with his statements but boy did he take a wrong turn. To generlize a whole group of people, doesn't really show his intelegence.

04-24-01, 08:23 AM
According to this article:
Ward and several of his teammates took part in a Bible study class prior to a game against Milwaukee and questioned the author, who is Jewish, about the Old Testament, cultural identity and dietary laws.

So I'm assuming it's safe to conclude that his comments really were taken out of context...as it appears he was speaking with a Jewish author about his book (perhaps this miscreant was trying to gain some enlightenment of some sort???). It would take some cajones to say that kind of crap to the dude's face intentionally, now wouldn't it? And it appears that Ward doesn't have very big cajones, so, let's stop jumping to conclusions. Am I wrong? Nothing like sensational journalism. :rolleyes:

04-24-01, 08:29 AM
Originally posted by Slippery Elm
And Rocker got vilified and suspended for a month, later cut down on appeal to two weeks.

The old racial double standard in America again.

i dunno, i agree w/ you if your suggesting he should be punished by the nba just as rocker was punished by the mlb, but lets rememebr these are two different leagues, so it's not fair to call it a double standard... the nba does things it's way and mlb has it's way....

but the nba and the knicks really dropped the ball on this one... charlie as an employee of the knicks and nba should not be allowed to use the nba as a vehicle to advance his ignorant, discriminatory views... he can believe whatever the hell he wants, but expressing those views to the media harms the image of the knicks and nba, and he should be more than admonished, he should be at least fined if not suspended... his words I'm sure really hurt a good % of the targetted demographic and could have a deleterious impact on his employers... when the very existence of the nba that can afford to pay bum backup pointguuards like himslef lucratively, depends on public support he has no right to make PUBLICLY disparaging comments about jews... but like i said when rocker said his bs, it's always better to know who's a bigot, than not... funny huh, how he came back w/ the same ten thousand year old line, "my best friend is a jew" didn't rocker say something like that too...

as far as old racial double standards go... i'll just leave that one alone.... I think we're just dealing w/ two similarly ignorant jackasses... i'm in the south now sorta, (northern va) and i've seen them in both balck and white... the white ones are called rednecks, the black one are claled bamma's.... either way they're equally ignorant and should not be affforded a public stage to espouse their hatred...

04-24-01, 09:42 AM
Yes, we don't have a transcript of the entire conversation but I can't really think of a context in which Ward's comments wouldn't at the very least make someone who's Jewish feel very uncomfortable if not offended. I've had comments of a similar nature made to me and it feels pretty bad, especially since there really isn't any good response that won't start an argument.

One reason the NBA and the Knicks might not be fining Ward is that since he made his statements in the context of his religious beliefs fining him might give the appearance that he's being punished for those religious beliefs.

After reading Ward's comments I'm really turned off from supporting the Knicks right now even though I know that his views don't reflect that of the entire organization. It was good to hear that Ward was booed on Sunday during the game but if the Knicks continue to do well and Ward contributes I have a feeling all will be forgotten quickly by the fans.


04-24-01, 10:06 AM
Deborah, I agree with you, really. I'm still having a hard time believing that he meant it to be as rude as it was made out to be...some people are not as eloquent as others and sometimes the things they say come out all wrong. And by all means, I could be wrong.
We cannot know how the Jewish author feels at the moment, but I think he would've tried to set the record straight if things were really getting out of hand.
I don't trust the press and I don't hold them in high regard when it comes to not stirring the pot, so to speak.
Sports doesn't need this type of negative spotlight and I get a little irritated thinking that some people will reach for anything to try to sell a story.
Some fans might forget, but I doubt all will...

It's just unfortunate that ignorance grabs headlines, every single time.

04-24-01, 11:57 AM
"Jews have Jesus' blood on their hands"

I'm sorry,but how the hell can a statement like that be taken out of context?

Charlie Ward is a bitter man who hides behind his religious beliefs as an excuse for everything he does.

Slippery Elm
04-24-01, 10:22 PM
Yet Stern allows maniacs (Rashid Wallace, for one) and criminals (Allen Iverson, among others) to play in the NBA.
And he wonders why he and his league have an image problem.

04-25-01, 09:13 AM
Sid Dorfman in todays Star Ledger quoted a Martin Luther King statement that says it all for me, " Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientous stupidy".

More wars were fought over religious zealotry and bigotry than almost any other cause. Now I am religious but still have an open mind to other's beliefs. The type zeolot typified by Ward and Huston and other Born Again Christions (not all, just the zeolots who want to convert everyone to their one only true beliefs), are dangerous. Perhaps Van Gundy knew of what he spoke when he critized their prayer meetings.

04-25-01, 10:16 AM
The blood libel of blaming Jews for the crucifixion of Christ has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands, if not millions of people.
I know this from my own family, many of whom perished in the Holocaust. My Aunt who was a child at the time, saw her father gunned down by Polish troops at Easter, a favorite time of year for Pogroms, massive campaigns of murder, destruction and torture, all linked to blaming Jews for trhe death of Christ.
Using ethnic slurs is bad enough, but the blood libel has special force and effect. If Ward isn't smart enough to understand this, he should be smart enough to keep his mouth shut. If he seeks to lead people to his way of religious belief, that is his perogative, but to say that Jews have the blood of Jesus on their hands is offensive, anti-Semitic and infuriating.

04-28-01, 10:56 PM
the man obviously doesn't know his history nor has he studied comparative religion.