Teddy Valentine has heard your complaints about how he handled a player looking for a non-call clarification, and his response seems similar to a toddler not getting his way.
TV Teddy might take his ball and go home.
Last Wednesday, Valentine turned his back on North Carolina Tar Heels talent Joel Berry when the upperclassman was looking to have a conversation. People, including ESPN’s Jay Bilas, took this as a sign of disrespect. In turn, Valentine opened up to The Athletic about the situation, providing some context and offering up a few excuses.
“I turned my back for one second. I didn’t turn it for the whole time,” Valentine said. “Over the last two or three years, I’ve taken conflict resolution classes. In a conflict resolution class, they teach you to turn away. The ACC is a class league. The people in that league are trying to de-escalate problems. That’s why you don’t see technical fouls called in the ACC a lot.”
Depending on how you look at it, that’s either a good explanation or an elite deflection of accountability. More important than his explanation for his actions, though, is what he might do now that all the backlash has reached him.
“I’m thinking about retiring,” Valentine said. “I’ve had enough of people blowing up stuff. I think I’ve had a stellar career, and I think it’s time to get ready to walk away.”
That seems a bit much, no?
Is this a guy who is constantly craving the camera’s attention being thin-skinned or is he legitimately hurt and of the belief his actions are being taken out of context?
Even if it is the latter, just because he sincerely believes it is the case, it doesn’t actually make it so.
For those unaware of some of Valentine’s previous brushes with iffy antics:
In 1998, Valentine ejected then Indiana Hoosiers coach Bobby Knight from a game. Knight went on to say the call by Valentine was a travesty. In 2012, Valentine physically pulled Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and (then) Minnesota coach Tubby Smith together to force a conversation.
But wait, there’s more! There’s always more.
In February 2014, Valentine literally stopped a game between Auburn and South Carolina to eject a fan. Finally-ish, in March 2014, the ref had to be separated from Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin while the two were in a heated exchange.
Point being, he’s had his share of issues despite being recognized as a stellar official.