Just so, Doug.
It's pretty common knowledge 'round Sixerland that the Philadelphia 76ers are no longer rapt at attention whenever Doug Collins talks or texts. The mostly young (not saying exciting) team has spent far too much time together in this Lockout-shortened season and Doug has, to say the least, made their ears bleed with the constant badgering.
Imagine a 90's sitcom in which all of the Sixers players are a fat husband and their far too attractive wife is Doug Collins. Basically it's Everybody Loves Raymond, only instead of asking Ray to take out the trash, Patricia Heaton asks him to close out on jump shooters. For what it's worth, that'd probably be a better show.
Former Sixers beat Kate Fagan addressed this (not the Romano thing) on her blog. It's the best Sixers article I've seen her write in a while, so read all of it. Here's a huge chunk.
On more than one occasion, players have let Collins know — during a game — that they’re sick of the relentless nitpicking. This incessant nagging (or even the perception of it) leads to fractured relationships. The Sixers have reached the point where, at least some of them, have addressed this issue with Collins. Has it reached the point of tuning him out? At times. Collins has made an effort to try to step back, but he’s only occasionally successful. It’s been day to day. One day, Collins will release control and give his guys the reins; the next day, he’s all over every play, every cut, every missed screen. Frustration exists on both sides. Collins wants to figure out an answer, fix every problem. Many of the guys wish he would stop being so anxious and nervous — because it’s not helping.
Is the relationship broken beyond repair? That’s an impossible question to answer. Collins has actively tried to give his guys some space, but old habits die hard. Some of this can be chalked up to a brutal schedule, but not all of it. We won’t know how truly frayed certain relationships are until the off-season. Nobody is going to say it’s broken with the playoffs right around the corner.
This is heavy stuff, Doc. You know how we feel about it. The state of the Sixers from the top to bottom has been well-documented of late. It's probably making some of you guys upset. We're sorry for our bluntness. Please accept the following soliloquy as our apology.
Doug Collins sits at halfcourt, head drooped down in between his knees. The lights are dimmed. No one in the stands. Occasional NOISE can be heard down the tunnels towards the locker room.
"Awake. In space, in time, do I play the fool. A missed assignment, a cut forgotten, where does it end?
No end but the end, after eight years and two. The martyr for the unsaid and unspoken. Untexted. Am I not to? Does a singer not sing? A pirate not pirate? A duck not duck? I do as I do not for my own end. But for their end. Though it would be my end if those that oppose me had their way. Bloggers beasts.
What am I to do? Carve a hole in the bench and stick myself through it? Remove my tongue and fingers and arms as the gesturer would be still? Am I not here to do as my job dictates? I am a fixer. I am the fixer. They came to me with their comings, most of them short, and my price was steep. They knew me and I them, yet they still bade me come.
Games to be won, the space unrelenting in its constant insufficiency. The inevitable clock a reminder. Boss. The Boss and the Villain, I believe that's the story. Unabated by wisdom and harnessed by glory. The towels, the mystery, time. Not enough time and still, too much of it. Wasted in flight, in transit, in tight-lipped frustration.
I await the mercy of the collapsed. Those who speak, speak it well for a dozen has the shadow yet to fall. Insurgence and mutiny yet to come as the baker could be the Buck himself. Or a Knick, whatever that is.
The unending end. I see fit to run a play. The bossiest and I."
Doug falls asleep on the court. Andre Iguodala runs out with a basketball, sees Doug sleeping by center court and slowly returns to the tunnel humming 'Bare Necessities'.