Boston Celtics director of basketball operations Danny Ainge spoke out on Thursday afternoon in defense of Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, who was accused by the Detroit Pistons' Charlie Villanueva of calling him a "cancer patient" during a game Tuesday.
During his weekly call-in to Boston sports radio station WEEI, Ainge called Villanueva a self-promoter and said his accusations were "ludicrous."
"There's one thing that I know for sure, and it's that KG would not offend cancer patients," Ainge said. "That makes no sense. It makes no sense on a lot of fronts. Not only is he experiencing it in his own family, but that's just not something I've ever heard -- in 30 years -- ever say, in trash talking. What is logical in a trash talking situation for a player to say to another player, 'You have cancer' or 'You are cancer'?"
Villanueva made the situation public when he posted messages on his Twitter account.
One of the tweets says: "KG called me a cancer patient, I'm pissed because, u know how many people died from cancer, and he's tossing it like it's a joke."
Garnett called the incident "a major miscommunication."
Before the Celtics' win over the Bucks on Wednesday he released a statement.
"My comment to Charlie Villanueva was in fact 'You are cancerous to your team and our league,'" Garnett said. "I would never be insensitive to the brave struggle that cancer patients endure. I have lost loved ones to this deadly disease and have a family member currently undergoing treatment. I would never say anything that distasteful. The game of life is far bigger than the game of basketball."
Ainge took issue with the way Villanueva handled the incident.
"Tweeting is about self-promotion in most cases," he said. "He's [Villanueva] not trying to be a public servant by telling everybody. As a matter of fact he's the one who brings light to this attention ... There's self-promotion in tweeting -- all the time. You are talking about a guy who tweets in the middle of a game. Talk about self-promotion.
"It's too easy to just sit there on your phone and not stand in front of a TV camera and fess up to some of these things. It's much easier to just put it out there and people are going to believe it. ... I think that Charlie was wrong -- and there's no ifs, ands or buts about it -- by doing this."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers made some similarly critical comments earlier Thursday morning on WEEI.
"I can't go in and say 'Hey guys let's make a rule that there's no tweeting.' That's nothing I'm going to do," said Rivers. "The tweeting thing doesn't bother me, it's what we're tweeting about and when. I couldn't imagine someone going to the press after a game because someone said something to you on the floor. That's an unwritten rule I thought we didn't cross and we did that the other night."
Based on the differing accounts, Ainge stands by his organization, choosing to believe Garnett's side of the story.
"First of all, both players have completely different stories," he said. "One guy has a Twitter account where he blurts things out, that's the first thing. Doc said he heard what KG said and I believe Doc. ... I believe Doc and I believe KG."
Ainge has yet to hear from the league but he doesn't expect the NBA to get involved.