The initial story surrounding Dion Waiters and his missing the national anthem on Wednesday involved him proclaiming that his Muslim faith was the reason he chose to sit the ceremony out.
The following day, Waiters denied the whole thing entirely, saying that the reported reasons for him skipping the anthem on that night were simply ‘a damn lie.’
Not surprisingly, the beat reporter who broke the original story circled back with Waiters, who ended up calling the whole thing a “simple miscommunication.”
From Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com:
Dion and me had a long conversation on Saturday and we came to the realization that we were both thinking two different things.
When I asked if he planned to continue his pregame ritual, I meant did he plan on skipping the national anthem from here on out. He said he was under the impression that I was asking if he would continue his prayer and meditation before games.
Waiters reiterated that he would continue be present during the national anthem. He called it a “simple miscommunication” and added that he’s looking forward to moving past this situation.
The reality here is that Waiters faces no consequences for backtracking on his previous statements; as a professional basketball player making in the millions per year, he can change his mind publicly whenever he sees fit, without complications.
But for a reporter attempting to give the public accurate access to a team’s players, the stakes are much higher. I’ll stick with my original assessment of how this whole thing likely played out, but whether that’s accurate or it isn’t, it’s clear that something was lost in translation, and that the two parties came to an understanding in advance of having to work together for the remainder of the season.