As you may have read over the weekend, Greek national team player Nikos Zisis is still pretty upset about the elbow he got from Anderson Varejao in the FIBA World Championship and wants to sue him. Considering he had to undergo surgery last week after spending a week in the hospital in Japan, it is understandable he is trying to get some measure of revenge because it isn't likely the two will ever seen each other on a basketball floor again.
Based on some of my e-mail and some things I've read on message boards, I want to address a few things about this issue.
I'm not smart enough to be a lawyer so I can't even begin to guess how Zisis would successfully sue Varejao considering the event happened in a country neither player lives in nor works in. However, ultra-bright University of Nebraska law student Zach Hemenway informs me this case set the precedent that an athlete could sue another athlete for something that happens outside the rules on the field of play. However even Zach doesn't exactly see how Zisis can win without direct evidence of intent and everything seems to be circumstantial.
I had extended conversations in Japan with members of the Greek media. Now I must point out that these guys were hardly objective, for example they cheered from the press box, waived Greek flags during the game, and hugged and kissed players following the victory over the U.S. But they painted a picture of how Zisis and Varejao were battling back and forth. How after Zisis was angry after Varejao supposedly flopped -- and let's be honest, he's known to do that -- and how supposedly Varejao warned him not to come into the paint when he was standing there.
For his part, Varejao doesn't not say he's sorry. I cannot verify the exact translation because I do not speak Portugese, but a poster at RealCavsFans says he translated this story from Brazil where Varejao said the following: "I've learned from the press what Nikos Zisis has been saying and I was surprised and sad with it. Zisis accused me of being disloyal and a bad character, he said I hit him on purpose and named me an "animal" and "murderer". I hadnt answered anything so far because I did not want to make a big deal out of it and because my conscience is clean that it was just his bad luck in that play and because I understand that he's upset at this time because of the injury.
But I think Zisis has crossed the line with this thing. Because of everything he's been saying and because the way things are shaping. Now I have to watch Zisis sue me, claiming an "murderer act" by my part. It's clear to me what he really wants with all this. Zisis shoud know that bball is a contact game. It was on one of this contacts that he got hurt. It was a normal game play, but he ended up getting hurt.
That is so true that the referees, and there were three of them, ruled as a normal foul and no one claimed anything at that moment. Because I saw the injury was bad I came to him to apologise but he turned his back on me. It's an absurd that he keeps blaming me. Accusing me that it was intentional. I've always been a loyal, clean player. A player that respects the opponent and that plays eyeing the ball.
Last season, I had a bad injury playing for Brazil that kept me from playing for six months and I didnt have to seek for people to blame to justify my injury. I think Zisis should do the same and focus on his rehab. He should stop feeding tabloids and talking sillyness."
I feel like I know Andy and his game. I know that sometimes it appears he plays absent minded, but actually I think he's fairly sharp. If you remember last season he took a shot at Rasheed Wallace and got ejected in Detroit and did it without looking like he was trying to. I've watched the Zisis video numerous times and I think that play in Detroit is comparable. I don't think Andy wanted to inflict such damage to Zisis' face and certainly he didn't mean to him him as hard as he did. But I there's a good chance he came in high with his elbow to send a message.
So that makes his name mud in Greece, but after being called soft many times last season I predict Cavs fans won't mind at all.