The Toronto Raptors are in the midst of another mediocre season. The losses outweigh the wins. The roster isn’t littered with any future superstars. The city was theirs for the taking during the first half of the season with the NHL lockout and no Toronto Maple Leafs hockey games.
The Raptors have always had great turnouts at the Air Canada Centre but this was their time to make inroads with both the media and the heavy hitters on Bay Street. Andrea Bargnani’s glow has fizzled and it looks like another season of missing the playoffs.
Now that hockey is back the Raptors are once again stuck in the third tier of the city’s sports lexicon. It’s the Leafs and the Toronto Blue Jays that fill radio airwaves. This apathy both with the team and the city are compounded with being on the outskirts of the NBA media spectrum. The Raptors are easily the least thought of team by most NBA scribes. Naysayers wonder out loud that maybe the team should finish last and at least that way, someone will talk about them.
It is in this setting where coach Casey goes about his business. Casey has been around the NBA and some say he has finally found a home in Toronto. During his tenure, the Raptors have had a losing record and haven’t really had a sniff of the playoffs. He and most of his backers will tell you that he really hasn’t had the time or the players to make that leap up. The basketball beat in Toronto seems to be on his side. I like him, he is a good coach, a good defensive mind, great with the players and very friendly with the media.
I still want him fired.
I don’t want him fired because of his record. I want him fired because of what he has done. Casey should have never had the chance to coach in the NBA, let alone be a teacher of young players both in basketball and in life. Casey should never run basketball clinics for future coaches in Toronto or anywhere.
Although Casey was a bench player, he was the captain for the Kentucky Wildcats national championship team in 1978. He had the brain of a coach and was pushed into the profession by his own mentor Joe B. Hall. After a stint at Western Kentucky he returned to be the Wildcats assistant coach and lead recruiter.
During the 80s, the program was in a drought. It was attracting talent but not filling the Rupp Arena with enough banners and Casey was brought in to bring in the best talent in the country. The talent came with the likes of Rex Chapman, Leron Ellis and Chris Mills. Other programs began to notice: so did the NCAA.
The hammer was dropped on the program before the 1989 season. There is no need to rehash the whole Shawn Kemp issue and the many violations that arose. The single issue that broke the scandal was Casey’s name on an Emery overnight envelope sent to Chris Mills’ father. The envelope had a $1,000 in it. The school escaped the death penalty, players were suspended, people were fired and it was common knowledge that even though Casey denied his wrongdoings – he took the fall.
As a parent, would you want your child to be coached by someone who violated rules and was caught cheating? As an organization, would you want a coach with this type of baggage on his resume? As a citizen, would you want someone to represent your team and your city with a scandal-laden past? Casey should not have been hired in the first place. The Minnesota Timberwolves should not have hired him. Coach Rick Carlisle should not have brought him in to be an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and president Brian Colangelo should have not trusted him.
Sometimes wins and losses should not be the bottom line for organizations. It should be the impact the team makes on the city and the people that support it. Casey is the face of the franchise. Can we just forget about his past? It is his past that makes him who he is and therefore who the Raptors are. Sadly, for me no matter how many wins Casey leads the team to I still will feel the same way. Casey needs to be fired.
Shahab Khan is a Sport Columnist with Rant Sports focusing on the Toronto Raptors
Follow Shahab on Twittter @SchoolboyShebe