Antonio Blakeney fully denies ever cursing out Fred Hoiberg
A report stemming from early last week detailed how Chicago Bulls former head coach Fred Hoiberg had lost the locker room prior to losing his job on Dec. 3. A piece by Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic detailed how even a player coming up in the rotation like Antonio Blakeney had mouthed off and cursed at Hoiberg, giving stars like Zach LaVine plenty of room to do even more than just that.
Mayberry apologized for the lack of good judgment and not giving Blakeney nor Hoiberg the opportunity to state their case before publishing the piece, which went live shortly after Hoiberg’s firing.
Blakeney initially called the report “fake news” over Twitter, but gave a detailed response to clear the air on what happened during that infamous game.
“Obviously, I saw the report saying I cursed coach Fred asking him why I came out of the game. No, I didn’t say that. Obviously, me being a younger player in the league and a minimum (salary) guy who is just trying to make it, an undrafted guy, that’s nothing I would ever even think in my mind to say. I’ve never been that type of person. Even in high school. I was a McDonald’s All-American.
I never cursed the coach or anything like that. So I don’t really know where that came from, but I kind of just wanted to clear the air on that because I don’t want that image out there of me. I don’t want anybody to think that of me. I don’t want any coach in the league or any coach anywhere to think that I would say that to them. And I have the utmost respect for coach Fred, and I would never say that to him.
He definitely coached me hard, and I never said anything back. I just kind of stayed obedient to him. Like I said, I’ve got the utmost respect for coach Fred. He was a great coach to me so I would never do that.”
Bulls players (from veterans to younger players) have recently said they respected Hoiberg, and that the good cop-bad cop dynamic between Hoiberg and now-coach Jim Boylen served its purpose of a balancing act.
Now that Blakeney’s name is clear, the only reflection of him should remain in his game on the floor, currently putting up career-highs with 9.5 points per game and canning 44.8 percent of his 3-point attempts in the season.