A vocal, growing segment of Pistons fans have occasionally expressed the opinion that the media tends to go easy on Joe Dumars when parceling out blame for the mess the Pistons have been in the last two seasons. Those fans will surely be happy that a national columnist, ESPN’s Jemele Hill, wrote today that Dumars deserves the lion’s share of the blame for the team’s plight.
There isn’t much revelatory in her column to anyone who has followed the team closely, but Hill, a native Detroiter, articulates why it’s hard for the media to go hard at Dumars:
Detroit Pistons president Joe Dumars has done more for my hometown than many of the city’s elected officials. The NBA’s Sportsmanship Award is named after Dumars. He’s a Hall of Famer who is linked to all three of the Pistons’ NBA championships — two of which he helped Detroit win as a player and the other he orchestrated as an executive.
It may not be as hard for younger fans of the team or people who are not familiar with Dumars’ playing career to criticize his record as a GM. But I’ll admit, as someone who is absolutely not enthused about some of the personnel decisions that have been made over the last three years, it is hard for me to criticze Dumars because so many of my childhood memories involve watching him as a member of the Bad Boys, watching him quietly and effectively guard Michael Jordan and watching him professionally and honorably (you listening, current Pistons veterans?) be a team player on teams late in his career as his role was reduced and the team’s executives weren’t putting pieces in place to make the team competitive.
I’m not saying Dumars deserves a pass. But it’s definitely hard to forget those things.