As soon as Clyde allegedly made the statement that players took pity on Magic Johnson because they thought he was dying, I knew it would be a firestorm.
My feelings on this are always the same, if you say something controversial or not, say it with your chest. I am not saying Clyde is lying in this press release, but he might stumble considering all this back tracking he is doing.
“I was one of Magic’s biggest supporters during that difficult period in his life and I take great exception to having such comments attributed to me,” his statement says. “Magic and I have a friendship that goes back more than 28 years and I would never say such hurtful things. I have reached out to Magic to assure him that I did not say those things and to apologize to him and his family for even having to respond to something as baseless as this.”
Of course the reporter who published the quotes from Clyde has a different story.
Let me begin by emphasizing that the excerpt was accurate. But the lead-in was not. Deadspin says that “everyone on the Dream Team felt sorry for Magic because he was going to die.” That was not the context. Clyde was talking about many people in the league, not specifically the Dream Teamers.
Magic Johnson the person everyone is talking about decided to let his voice be heard as well.
“If that’s how he felt, then that’s how he felt. I think that Clyde was a guy that always fought for more publicity … a guy who thought he should deserve more credit,” Johnson told The Wall Street Journal. “But if he felt like that, I’m OK with it. I’m not a guy who’s going to be upset that he said these types of things.
“I think that what I would say is that, [from] Clyde or anyone else, I didn’t want any sympathy. Only thing I wanted is that you treated me the same way that you treated me before you knew I had HIV. It was a beautiful thing that I was able to educate the world that a guy living with HIV could still go out there and play, and play at a high level. And then at the end of the day I was able to educate a league that didn’t know about HIV and AIDS.
“You know a lot comes out after the fact. Here it is 20 years later, and now you want to make these comments? Twenty years later. And I know Clyde, so this is really funny you want to make these comments 20 years later.”
I tweeted that Clyde would learn a hard lesson that you can’t talk negatively about Magic Johnson and I was right. I don’t think Clyde was saying anything different than a lot of people were thinking at the time, but he was just salty he didn’t get as much credit as he thought he deserved.
To be honest he is probably right, but life isn’t fair, so no need to be all upset about it 20 years after the fact. Doesn’t look like Magic accepted his apology anyway, so he might as well just stuck to his guns instead of running with his tail between his legs.
H/T Larry Brown Sports.