Rip Hamilton responds to anonymous accusation that he sat out Sunday's game because of losing his starting job

Over the years, the Pistons have not had much turmoil that manifests itself in the media. As fans, I think it’s something that is easy to not notice, but it’s really unprecedented compared to the anonymous sniping that goes on in the media in other organizations, even occasionally among winning teams.

So it was more than a little surprising that an anonymous person in the organization told Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News that Rip Hamilton had ‘quit’ on the team.

Not surprisingly, this is not a trend the organization wishes to continue. First, Hamilton defended himself to reporters. From Vince Ellis of the Freep:

“For the last nine years, I just went out and played hard and played aggressive and left everything on the line every night, and to hear that allegation was tough on me,” Hamilton said. “But Joe will find out who said it and get to the point on that.”

And for those who believe, like commenter Frankie D expresses here, that Hamilton will become a scapegoat for the team’s poor play, I wouldn’t be so sure. Joe Dumars released a statement defending Hamilton:

“Rip and I had a great conversation,” Dumars said about a 20-minute chat after practice. “He’s the last guy that I need to worry about competing. He’s been a warrior here for a long time, and I trust him as much as anybody on this team. Rip is our captain, and I love Rip Hamilton.”

That’s an unusual step for Dumars to make a public statement on something like this, so he must firmly believe that Hamilton was not, in fact, faking his illness as the person quoted in the Goodwill story seems to suggest. And I have to think that Dumars, who has always been guarded with what he says to the media (despite the occasional, uh, slip-up), is going to come down hard on whoever leaked the info, even if it happens behind closed doors.

So to recap: the Pistons are as confusing as ever.

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