When Don Zierden resigned from the Minnesota Lynx a couple of days before the season started, I blasted him and called the move unprofessional. When Bill Laimbeer resigned from the Detroit Shock on Monday, a little over a week after the season started, I did not criticize him.
While the timing is still bad, I didn’t begrudge him leaving now. So some folks have asked me, “What’s the difference?”
And I would say this: I think I was wrong to be so critical of Zierden initially. When you write opinion pieces, you sometimes later think, “Maybe I was unfair. Maybe I was too harsh.” That’s why the next day, after talking to him, I wrote a another blog entry giving his view about what happened.
At that point, though, the critical post has already been written and posted for more than 24 hours. Some people might have read that and not read the follow-up.
Zierden’s acknowledged the timing was bad: that’s obvious to everyone. But he explained the situation to me in such a way that I could see why he felt he did the best thing for himself and the organization. That’s if he was being totally honest and sincere about what he told me, and I don’t have any reason to believe he wasn’t.
Laimbeer’s commitment to the league was more than three times longer than Zierden’s, so from that standpoint I don’t think it’s giving Laimbeer too much of a “pass” to not criticize what he did.
Again, is the timing awful? Yes, it is. I can understand where people were ticked off at Laimbeer, even if they acknowledge what he brought to the league.
I just didn’t have the same initial reaction to Laimbeer that I did to Zierden, and maybe that’s because Bill has been in the league so much longer and I appreciated what he brought to the Detroit franchise and the WNBA as a whole. And maybe it’s because my first reaction to Zierden was too angry and not as even-handed as I hope to be as a writer.
You still may not agree with me at all – you may think I was right to blast Zierden and should have blasted Laimbeer.