For the second time in ten days, legendary IU basketball radio voice Don Fischer had to inform the audience an Indiana player had been ejected from the game for a flagrant 2 foul.
Sophomore guard C.J. Gunn was involved in a minor altercation on Friday evening in Madison during which he used his arm to push away a Wisconsin player.
After witnessing Gunn’s action, the emotion of the moment influenced Fischer’s choice of words.
“I am embarrassed for this ball club,” Fischer said in the immediate aftermath of the incident that led to Gunn’s ejection from the game.
Fans, and unfortunately, even some members of the media ran wild with Fischer’s comment, using it as a condemnation by Fischer of head coach Mike Woodson, his staff and the players.
We held off on writing anything about Fischer’s comment, because he isn’t one to direct such seemingly harsh words at members of the program. He has been calling IU basketball games for 51 years, and has deep relationships at IU, including with Woodson, whose games he called as a player more than 40 years ago.
During a radio interview on 107.5 The Fan Monday, Fischer clarified his remark.
“It had nothing to do with the coaching staff or the team at that point, it was simply that scenario (flagrant 2) taking place for a second time,” Fischer said.
“I was embarrassed not about the team, not about the play of the game, nothing about that at all. It was about the situation taking place for a second time, and I just felt like that needed to be said. I didn’t probably put it in quite in the terms (I should have), because everything was misconstrued like I was blasting the team, and that’s not what I was doing.”
Fischer’s remarks came during the live broadcast at Wisconsin. He says he didn’t have the opportunity to see what many watching on television saw — that Gunn was baited into the shove by Wisconsin guard Max Klesmit. And despite many describing the incident as Gunn throwing an elbow, it was really nothing more than Gunn pushing Klesmit out of his space after the Wisconsin player repeatedly stuck his head and hair on his chest and neck.
“After I got to see the slow-motion replay of C.J.’s situation, I didn’t think that was as egregious as I thought it was in real time, but it still can’t happen,” Fischer said.
Those of us who describe the action in written form have the luxury of meticulously crafting our words before we publish — and even then we still sometimes say things we end up regretting.
Fischer found himself in a situation not unlike the Indiana players he was describing — in the heat of the moment. And live on the air, at times even a wise old veteran doesn’t quite land on the best choice of words.
But he also isn’t looking to be the face of your frustration when it comes to the overall state of the IU basketball program.
“The fact of the matter is, when something like that happens, you’ve got to handle yourself with a little bit more esprit de corps and with the proper explanation,” Fischer said. “I don’t think I probably said it in the proper fashion, but at the same time, it is what I felt.”
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