Rivers: Don't go tattling to the media
Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Thursday that Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva broke an "unwritten rule" when he tweeted that Boston's Kevin Garnett had called him a cancer patient during Tuesday night's game.
Appearing in his weekly radio spot on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan Show, Rivers defended his star power forward, saying that Garnett called Villanueva a "cancer to his team," not a cancer patient.
"Kevin Garnett called him a cancer. What he said on the other end, I can't vouch for. But yelling from our bench, everybody on our bench could hear him yell, 'You're a cancer!'" Rivers explained.
"The only thing I thought, and I told Kevin this, is why are you talking to him? You can actually see me yelling at Kevin because he got a tech. I yelled at him, 'Why are you talking at him? We're up 25 points and you're talking to Charlie Villanueva!'"
Garnett received a technical foul late in the Celtics' win over the Pistons after a heated exchange with Villanueva. After the game Villanueva said via Twitter: "KG called me a cancer patient, I'm pissed because, u know how many people died from cancer, and he's tossing it like it's a joke."
Villanueva has suffered from a disorder called alopecia unversalis since he was a child, preventing him from growing hair.
Garnett responded Wednesday by claiming that he yelled, "You are cancerous to your team and our league." He said that he would never make such an insensitive statement about a cancer patient, adding that he currently has a loved one undergoing treatment for cancer.
Rivers said that trash-talking is an accepted part of NBA games and details of what is said should not be made public.
"I couldn't imagine someone going to the press after a game because someone said something to you on the floor. That's an unwritten rule I thought we didn't cross and we did that the other night."
Rivers said when he played against the likes of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Reggie Miller, he kind of "enjoyed" the trash talk, adding that "now these guys take it so personally."