On her Twitter account, Angel McCoughtry of the Atlanta Dream messaged Renee Montgomery of the Connecticut Sun regarding the Samsun-Fenerbahce quarterfinal playoff game in Turkey. McCoughtry scored 11 points on 3-for-8 shooting but only played 14 minutes 30 seconds and did not play during the second half. Fenerbahce won the game 75-66 to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
McCoughtry then shared a series of Twitter messages with Montgomery which were posted on the Hurriyet Spor news site:
angel_35: "my coach just tolc me he didnt play me the second half of yesterdays game because he was scared i would score 25 and we lose #dumbestexcuse
angel_35 @Da20one girl I dont mean to put this out there but my coach is seriously racist foreal!
angel_35 @Da20one girl its a looooong story ..just say its obvious that the coach dont treat the black players fair
Montgomery is currently playing for Maccabi Ashdod in Israel.
For those who aren't aware of Fenerbahce or Ratgeber, Fenerbahce is a Turkish women's basketball team that's among the top ten teams in Europe. It was the former team of Diana Taurasi before a false positive drug test by a Turkish lab eventually led to Taurasi leaving the team. Angel McCoughtry had started the season with MKB Euroleasing in Hungary but was bought out of her contract to fill Taurasi's spot.
As for McCoughtry's coach - Laszlo Ratgeber - he's one of the biggest coaches in Europe. A Hungarian by nationality, he has ten Hungarian league championships to his credit, took MiZo Pecs to two Euroleague championship games and won Euroleague when he coached Spartak Moscow. Fenerbahce hired Ratgeber in 2010 to coach the team led by Taurasi and Penny Taylor to championship glory.
The link above claims that "Following these developments, Sports Management out of Angel's team is expected to leave or to terminate the player's contract." Whether this means that McCoughtry's agent will drop her or her contract with Fenerbahce will be terminated - or both - is hard to determine. One reason is that that quoted sentence depends on the powers of Translate Google, which is hardly reliable. The other reason is the hyperbolic nature of the Turkish press, which is also hardly reliable. I don't think one needs a computer program or a deep insight into Turkish basketball to conclude that not all will be happy in Fenerbahce.
This is the second time this off-season that Twitter messages have gotten WNBA players in a world of trouble. Cappie Pondexter sent insensitive messages by Twitter regarding the devastation in Japan caused by the tsunami and earthquake there. Pondexter apologized for her remarks on Twitter. My understanding is that McCoughtry's Twitter account is now locked so that only subscribers may see her messages.
In any other year, we could expect a few quotes from the WNBA president to at least provide some damage control. Unfortunately, the WNBA hasn't had a president for almost three months now, and there is no sign of urgency by the NBA in providing one. With the league on cruise control, problems like this are left to resolve themselves and as they say in public relations, the story is now in someone else's hands and not necessarily friendly ones.
I am simply reminded of a poem by Omar Khayyam:
"The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it"
Clearly, Khayyam was a perceptive writer. He knew all about Twitter before there was a Twitter.
Update to original post: This link from the Fenerbache website indicates that McCoughtry has apologized to Ratgeber and that Ratgeber has accepted the apology. As usual, Translate Google is inexact, but the gist of Ratgeber's comments is "let's put this aside for now and play some basketball". A quick and sincere apology is always a good thing, and hopefully any lingering issues between McCoughtry and Ratgeber can be resolved behind closed doors.