What a way to open the 2014-15 Utah Jazz basketball season, huh? Mere hours before the country’s most conservative pro basketball team–sorry, San Antonio Spurs–in the country’s most conservative market opened for business, this happened.
And this. And this. And this. And well, that too–they all hit the Internet like a spray of bullets aimed directly at Utah Jazz guard Trey Burke on Mon. Sept. 29–courtesy of a jilted former lover, four in all. The Racy pics were all, unapologetically, put out there by this woman, in plain view, for all the world to see–and in Utah and elsewhere, to judge (Warning :NSFW).
It hooked, one said. Was this basketball we were talking about? No, actually, it wasn’t. Another tweeted that it looked like a pencil. And another viewer who may have felt sorry for the guy defended Burke’s um, stance–saying it looked just fine to him.
That nobody was talking about basketball was fascinating, really–no, we were talking about a male’s anatomy here. Of course Utah sports media wanted absolutely nothing to do with the latest in Twitter trends, preferring instead to talk about other things Jazz than frankly, a frighteningly candid conversation taking hold on Twitter.
Hours after the pics surfaced, Burke himself gave an apology to assembled media on this, the first day of Jazz practice–the second day of Burkegate–to try to right himself after this latest series of wrongs. Except, this was more like a wrongo, bucko–while kindly old ladies and men wag their fingers at Burke, giving him the old tsk, tsk–than just a wrong.
“Publicly I want to first and foremost apologize to my family, apologize to the Miller family, as well as my teammates,’’ Burke said. “We already talked about it in the locker room and from this day forward it won’t happen again.”
It better not, else Burke, who is still only 21 years young, won’t stay long in Utah. Burke had already made a name for himself on the Internet outside of hoops when he–and Shaq and rapper Waka Flocka Flame–on an Instagram post publicly mocked a man who turned out to have a grave genetic condition. He apologized for that one, too.
For this, the Jazz guard did the same–he said he was sorry. Was he really? In as many words, yes, for many reasons even he doesn’t probably want to get into. Utah is not the place you want to have your man parts displayed for all to see–especially when you work here for a living. The LDS Church Main Temple–and LDS Headquarters–are literally a rock’s healthy toss from the arena at which Burke plays. The LDS religion seriously poo-poos the use of caffeine, let alone tobacco and alcohol. And so the discussion of sexual related topics, in particular porn, is kind of, well, verboten.
Former Jazz players have survived here for a minute after committing similar offenses, as veteran Deseret News reporter Brad Rock pointed out. Rock was here when former Jazz center Luther Wright got a little too medicated and found himself squawking like a chicken along Interstate 80 in the middle of the night.
Rock was here when Deron Williams and Robert Whaley got busted for having fake IDs, being over-medicated and fighting some dude in a Park City bar their rookie seasons. And the Rockmonster was here Monday too, smirking and grayed as Burke took the stand, er, sat on a wooden bleacher in front of about 90 media members, their instruments of pain or recording devices pointed two inches from Burke’s cherubic yet shamed young face.
The former consensus player of the year in college basketball is not Jimmer Fredette–nor will Burke ever be in the eyes of those who judge him. Like Rock expertly pointed out though, these pics that some angry female leaked of Burke have nothing to do with the sport the Jazz guard expertly plays–but it might raise other questions down the line.
“In the wide view, the leaked photos won’t necessarily define Burke. He’s still young, likable and promising. Whether teammates want him to lead will be their choice, not the public’s,” Rock said Monday. “In the moment, though, it raises the question of whether he has the maturity to ever lead the team.”