For the Benefit of Mr. Thomas

Posted by Rob Mahoney on December 10, 2009 under Commentary, News | 5 Comments to Read

You know, you and I are alike. We both like the basketballing. And judging by the fact that you made it to my little site here, I’ll venture as far as to say that you have a genuine interest in the Dallas Mavericks and the NBA. On top of that, if you’re like me, you read and immediately compartmentalized yesterday’s news of Tim Thomas’ alleged misconduct without much thought. This is Tim Thomas, after all.

A few hours later, it finally hit me: we are so much better than that. We’re better than that as fans, as people, and especially as citizens of the internet age. The interwebs are hardly a court of law, but shouldn’t we have given this guy even the slightest benefit of the doubt? Or at bare minimum, wait until all the facts had been revealed before we passed judgment and took our jabs? The answer is more than obvious, and it’s a pity that it took some honest reflection and a clarification of the facts to incite that reaction in me.

Honestly, I have absolutely no clue what transpired at a Dallas Denny’s at 3 A.M., and unless you’re Tim Thomas, a Denny’s employee, Roger Emrich, or Damien Pettie, you don’t either. Maybe Thomas is as innocent as Emrich’s account reveals, or maybe he’s not. But until the puzzle pieces fall into place, can we for one second assume that Tim Thomas isn’t at the bottom of everything? Thomas has pissed off his fair share of coaches, he’s alienated himself from teammates and fan bases, and he’s earned a pretty penny with marginal production to show for it.

All of that said, Thomas doesn’t have a history of legal troubles. His biggest off-court indiscretions can claim only locker room chemistry or his own ceiling as victims. But somewhere down the line, anecdotes of Thomas’ unfulfilled potential, ‘unique’ brand of sportsmanship, and attitude problems merged to create a living, evolving label. But rather than evolve to fit Thomas’ nomadic career path, that label has snowballed beyond the inconvenience of truth. This type of behavior is exactly what we expected out of the cartoony caricature of Thomas that’s been constructed from his rep alone, a testament to the unreasonable power of both hearsay and expectation.

You’d think after a spring and summer of he-said-she-said and faked pregnancies that we Mavs fans would know better by now. But Tim Thomas was a believable villain. It’s not right and it’s not fair, and regardless of whether Tim is innocent or guilty, he deserves better.

  • Cynthia

    I agree with everything you said…even though I was one who didn’t give Thomas the benefit of a doubt. And you’re right….as far as I have ever heard Tim has not had problems off court. So yes, unless something is proven otherwise he should be presumed innocent. For me…I’m sorry I automatically thought otherwise. Everyone should be given the benefit of a doubt until it’s proven differently. I know I will try to keep that in mind from now on.

  • Vic De Zen

    Well done. It’s dumb to rush to judgment here. No one knows what the hell went on.

  • Jeff S.

    Fully agree. The story was too outrageous to be true and truly sounded as if the “victim” was taking advantage of Thomas’ past. I’m happy to see that even men like Tim Thomas can be given the benefit of the doubt.

  • Matt

    A lot of news outlets are reporting that Thomas used “racial slurs.” If you read the police report which is posted on CBS’s report of the story, Thomas called Pettie a “n***a.” Pettie is black and we all know Thomas is black. It’s not really considered a racial slur in that situation. That’s like saying it’s a racial slur if a white person called another white person a cracker or something. It’s kind of a misrepresentation. The reports make it seem like it’s some kind of racial issue when it’s not because they’re the same race.

  • J-Blone

    Didn’t Tim Thomas have legal troubles in college? Something about stealing calling cards? I might be confusing him with someone else.