Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders ripped the Jazz television broadcast crew recently, after they accused his team of tanking by suiting up only seven healthy players.
Minnesota actually ended up winning the game, but Saunders went off anyway after it was finished.
“That’s totally irresponsible, we’re not tanking games,” Saunders said at the time. “If that’s so, then [Utah] got beat by a team who was tanking. … We’re playing to win. Our guys are out there: We won two games ago at New York, we lost in the fourth quarter against Charlotte last night. We’re not tanking games. It is irresponsible for them to go on TV saying that. If you work at ESPN, you get fired for saying stuff like that.”
With Utah in Minnesota to face the Timberwolves on Monday, one of the broadcasters that Saunders had words for used it as an excuse to confront him over those remarks.
“Still feel like the announcers need to be fired, including myself?” Bolerjack asked.
“I didn’t say you,” Saunders replied. “I just said that at ESPN, you do things like that. … You know, we have these [interviews] beforehand, people come and ask us, you know, who we have, who’s playing, who’s not. So that’s why we have this here.”
“But did you hear the broadcast?” Bolerjack asked.
“Yeah. I heard the thing. I heard the broadcast. I didn’t go back and hear it again,” Saunders said.
The situation ended amicably, with Saunders saying, “Hey. I’d forget about it. Things are done. They’re over with. I’m just at the time, in the context it was taken, I thought it was taken to mean that we were looking at tanking. If I was wrong, I’ll apologize for being wrong.”
“I appreciate the thought,” Bolerjack said over a handshake. “Thank you.”
Saunders tried to shut down the conversation initially, then diplomatically brought it to a close.
This seemed like an unnecessary exchange altogether; the broadcaster appeared to be looking for some attention, or perhaps to create an in-person verbal confrontation that he could use for fodder on that night’s broadcast.
It’s tough to discern exactly how this went down without hearing the tone in the two men’s voices, but either way, it seemed as though Saunders wasn’t exactly ready to thoroughly forgive Bolerjack for his previous comments.
UPDATE: David Locke, radio play-by-play voice for the Jazz, has the audio up here. The exchange didn’t seem to be one that was contentious.