Hedo Turkoglu benched for Partying

By: 03.29.10

photo. National Post

Boys will be boys, even when every shred of evidence clearly shows it’s kind of dumb to do anything in public you don’t want your wife/boss/admirers to find out about.

After the Tiger Woods situation blew up full-scale, along with relatively minor public gaffes involving NBA players Greg Oden and George Hill (and now Dorell Wright), you’d think athletes would get the point: In today’s culture of camera phones, Twitter, Facebook, texting, etc., YOU’RE GOING TO GET CAUGHT.

Hedo Turkoglu didn’t learn. In the Raptors’ loss to Miami on Sunday, during which the team blew a 17-point lead in the second half, Turkoglu was in uniform but didn’t play. Afterward, coach Jay Triano said it was for both health — Hedo has been (supposedly) dealing with a virus — and disciplinary reasons. From the Toronto Globe & Mail:

The benching came in the wake of reports that Turkoglu was out in Toronto’s trendy Yorkville district after the Raptors’ crushing loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday night, a game he didn’t play because of a stomach virus that caused him to leave at halftime of the Raptors loss’ to the Utah Jazz last Wednesday.

When pressed, Raptors president Bryan Colangelo said that word of Turkoglu’s night out had reached the team — apparently fans had spotted him and sent e-mails to team officials and some media — and the matter had been dealt with “internally,” the implication being that the Turkish small forward had been fined.

Before last night’s game, Turkoglu denied that he’d been out at all, but added that what he said didn’t matter.

“It’s all good, man,” Turkoglu said. “I’ve been dealing with this [stuff] the whole year. They’ve been on me on this [going out] the whole year long. If I wasn’t out, sick or healthy, they [the fans] would still say something. I don’t say anything. Ten games left of the season, all I try finish strong.”

With the Raptors just a half-game up on the Bulls for the final playoff spot in the East and Chris Bosh‘s impending free agency, this team doesn’t need any more distractions. Except for a few shining moments here and there, Hedo has been a disappointment all year, and this is just another reason for T-Dot fans to feel like they got played by signing him to a big-money, long-term deal.

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