View Full Version : enigma beneath a charming smile: one more shot at cwebb

09-21-2003, 12:17 PM
Marcos Bretón: Webber -- An enigma beneath a charming smile
By Marcos Bretón -- Bee Columnist
Published 2:15 a.m. PDT Sunday, September 21, 2003

What do you call a man who is beautiful and gifted, who is magnetic and charming -- a man who is the sun from which others draw warmth?
What do you call a man who is loved where he lives now but is reviled where he has lived before?

A man who bleeds sincerity, even when he's lying?

A man at the heart of one of college basketball's lowest moments, a central figure in the demise of the Golden State Warriors, a lead player in a dark period for the Washington Wizards.

Can we say he is acutely human or hopelessly flawed?

Is he a victim of circumstance or a human train wreck?

Is he morally ambiguous or simply unlucky?

That's the thing about Chris Webber -- he is all of the above and yet thoroughly loved.

He is akin to Bill Clinton in basketball shoes; a happy hurricane who blows into towns on the winds of hope and leaves disaster in his wake.

Was it his fault? Was it someone else's fault? It's always hard to tell when Webber leaves and careers are altered, basketball programs are badly hurt and ill feelings are all that's left behind.

It has been this way at every stop in Webber's basketball career since high school. Everywhere Webber has gone, it has ended badly. Very badly.

And Webber generally reacts the same way: By expressing remorse for the destruction in his past; by professing love for those broken in his wake; and by smiling, climbing into a luxury car and driving away.


For lying to a federal grand jury about taking money while a player with the University of Michigan, Webber has been ordered to spend 300 hours over the next two summers as a mentor at a Detroit middle school.

That's classic. That's like a fat fastball right down the middle, but I'm not swinging.

Webber teaching "living skills" to middle school kids? That's too easy, like shooting fish in a barrel.

I'll leave you to judge the righteousness of this court-

ordered arrangement -- and if it's OK with you, it's OK with me.

And if you honestly believe that you or I would have been treated similarly for lying to a grand jury, let's all pause while pigeons fly out my nose.

Or as Webber's lawyer Steve Fishman said in The Bee earlier this week: "This is not punishment. It's just a little more community outreach."

At least there was some truth in Fishman's words, which makes his statement stand out from those of his client.

Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds has deferred Webber's sentencing on criminal contempt until 2005, at which time she'll decide whether Webber has served his 300 hours with the kids.

That's probably fitting because trouble is never quite over for Webber. There always seems to be another crossroads where he has a path to choose in life and you're left to seriously wonder about his choices.

* As a young man when he called a timeout in the NCAA final though Michigan had none left, and the Wolverines lost.

* When his relationship with former Warriors coach Don Nelson symbolized the internal destruction of a talented team.

* When he chose partying over working to fulfill the promise of the Wizards.

* When as a Sacramento King he was asked by the Michigan grand jury whether he had taken money from crooked booster Ed Martin.

It makes you wonder what's next. Will Kings fans still love Webber in the future, or will something bad happen to make them boo No. 4 with the same venom as Warriors and Wizards fans do today?

Will Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof still call Webber a "shining example," as they did in a letter to Edmunds recently, as reported in the Detroit Free Press? Or will they one day chase him for $695,000 in legal fees, as the University of Michigan is?

Either way, you know what our guy will do -- he'll smile that smile we love, hop in his SUV and drive away.

09-21-2003, 07:44 PM
from ap: (maybe op can provide more insights?)

A federal judge explained her decision to require Sacramento Kings star Chris Webber to perform community service as punishment for lying to a grand jury about his dealings with a former University of Michigan basketball booster.

In a four-page opinion released Friday, U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds said the penalty she imposed was stiffer than what prosecutors wanted.

Edmunds said she considered placing Webber on probation in addition to requiring community service. But lawyers involved in the case told her she couldn't put Webber on probation because the government had negotiated away that option.

"Part of the reason for deferring the sentence is to see whether Mr. Webber shows accountability and responsibility for his actions," Edmunds wrote.

Edmunds deferred Webber's sentencing for about two years. She ordered a provision to Webber's bond that requires him to volunteer at a six-week summer literacy program in the summers of 2004 and 2005. Webber must work at least 150 hours each summer.

Edmunds left open the possibility of requiring Webber to reimburse University of Michigan for losses resulting from the scandal surrounding Martin. The school has asked Edmunds to order Webber to reimburse the school $695,000.

Lawrence Dubin, a University of Detroit Mercy law professor, told the Detroit Free Press that Edmunds found a creative way to wring more out of Webber than the deal required. He noted Martin's death weakened the prosecution's case.

"These kinds of things happen all the time in criminal court," Dubin said. "Although the plea agreement makes many people unhappy, it was a consequence of these events that were beyond the control of the prosecution and defense."

09-23-2003, 06:41 PM
Chris Webber's sentence sends the message that lying is a game

By Pete Waldmeir / The Detroit News

If I was the principal at Detroit's Butzel Middle School, I'd be asking U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds exactly what it is that she has against my kids that she's sentenced a serial liar like Sacramento Kings basketball star Chris Webber to spend 300 hours over the next two summers helping to shape their young minds.

Some role model this guy is. Next thing you know, they'll be sending former Tigers pitcher Denny McLain, a convicted embezzler now on parole, to teach creative accounting to budding young CPAs.

Edmunds' curious treatment of Webber and her pained, published explanation for why she copped out after his highly publicized admission of perjury is bizarre, to say the least. The kind of message it sends to grown-ups who would thumb their noses at testimony under oath is bad enough.

The message it sends to impressionable youngsters whose dream is to grow up and make a fortune throwing a ball through a hoop 10 feet in the air, however, is chilling: When you're caught in a lie, just lie and keep on lying. Judges don't punish big shots who don't tell the truth.

Webber, who disgraced the University of Michigan by accepting money from a known gambler for years when he was playing basketball there, in July admitted he lied under oath to a federal grand jury about the payoffs. The feds had been investigating a small-time numbers operator named Ed Martin, who told them he had given or "loaned" hundreds of thousands of dollars to Webber and Michigan teammates Robert "Tractor" Traylor, Maurice Taylor and Louis Bullock.

An internal investigation by U-M officials resulted in the Wolverines voluntarily forfeiting 117 victories, hauling down the school's "Final Four" banners, repaying the NCAA $450,000 that was the school's playoff take and imposing a one-year ban (which may end up as two years) on U-M's postseason playoff appearances.

School lawyers say the financial loss is closer to $675,000 because of fines and legal fees, and they want Webber to pay up.

Webber, who not only attended Michigan on an athletic scholarship but also did the same in prep school at Detroit Country Day, admitted repaying Martin nearly $40,000. His perjury trial was to have started last week, but star witness Martin died in February and blew the feds' case. So Webber cut a deal. He pleaded to criminal contempt and threw himself on the mercy of Edmunds' court. That's when she punted.

Explaining that she couldn't toss Webber in the hoosegow because the federal prosecutors had promised him no jail time or even probation if he saved the government the cost of a perjury trial, Edmunds slapped his wrist. Webber must spend the next two summers teaching Butzel kids to read. Then, if he's behaved himself, she'll decide the amount of the fine he must pay -- and whether his lying to the grand jury was a felony or a misdemeanor!

Meanwhile, the revered Webber roams loose to finish his multiyear, $123 million contract with the Kings. I hope he at least signed a jersey for Edmunds.

Read Pete Waldmeir's column on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday in The Detroit News. Call Pete at (313) 222-2345 or send e-mail to Pwaldmeir@aol.com.

09-23-2003, 07:06 PM
That's the thing about Chris Webber -- he is all of the above and yet thoroughly loved.

09-23-2003, 08:18 PM
shc...the federal prosecutors lost their case when Martin died...at least the part that really mattered...so (as I've indicated in another thread) they cut a "save face" deal with Webber in return for a next to nothing sentence. The prosecutors simply didn't want to take a chance of losing this one- again it's career suicide if they do.

Prosecutors, whether at the state or federal level, live and die by their "success rate". Those with the best "conviction records" move up and are promoted; those who lose cases don't. Simple as that. And the BS about not wanting to cost the taxpayers a lot of money is just that ...total BS.

It comes down to this....Martin's death severely compromised the perjury prosecution and the prosecutors didn't want to take any chance of losing a high profile case. So they took the easiest way out...other prosecutors in other jurisdictions might not have made the same choice...but the fact is, they did. You have to make decisions like this all of the time....when the main witness dies or disappears...

As Dubin said in the 2nd article that you posted...."These kinds of things happen all the time in criminal court," Dubin said. "Although the plea agreement makes many people unhappy, it was a consequence of these events that were beyond the control of the prosecution and defense."

When Martin died, you can expect that there was a hell of a lot of cursing going on in the Prosecutor's office. Then, when the judge ruled that Martin's records weren't admissible....their case was blown apart....

Guess what I'll be yelling when Sacto comes to town ?

09-23-2003, 08:27 PM
thx, op.

so do u agree that from the judge's decision "Edmunds found a creative way to wring more out of Webber than the deal required"? cwebb could have got away more easily?

09-23-2003, 11:18 PM
shc, ...someone isn't telling the whole truth and I'd have to have access to documents or be privvy to certain conversations to actually know who that was.

If you'll recall, the prosecutors expressed shock at the 2 year deferment given by Judge Edmunds and said something along the order of "this is unprecedented"....which it wasn't. In addition, Judges don't have to accept a plea bargain's terms....remember, they're independent of the prosecutor's office....they do accept them most of the time, but the POINT IS...they don't have to. Ultimately, the last word rests with the Judge.

Seems to me that they're both trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear and they're subtly blaming each other for this fiasco...Looks to me like they're both shading the truth.

If I had seen the plea bargain documents are been in the Judge's chamber for discussion, I could answer your question....but since I don't have first hand knowledge...I can't give you a REAL answer to your question.

09-24-2003, 02:30 AM
now the expert has spoken...

thx again op.

09-24-2003, 08:47 AM
Originally posted by: superheadcat
Chris Webber's sentence sends the message that lying is a game

By Pete Waldmeir / The Detroit News

But lying is a game in the criminal justice system. Defense attorneys and prosecutors do it all the time, as do policemen, as do witnesses, government and defense, key and periphery.

Outside of that, politicians lie as well. As do CEOs.

I understand that there's a difference between what Webber did, and what these other actors do daily, but this writer's focus is lying is not commonplace among people that are supposed to be respected, and that's just not true.

10-03-2003, 04:04 AM
obviously this author is not a fan of cwebb, but he does have some points, and some of cwebb's quotes are just so stupid.
how is such a character supposed to carry kings to a champ?

October 01, 2003
Chris Webber makes 'Fab Five' look like honored kings
By Billy Reed
Snitch Columnist
Let’s think a moment about the mess involving Chris Webber, one of the most prominent and talented basketball players of the last decade.

When the 6-foot-10 Webber decided to play his college ball at the University of Michigan, he was able to surround himself with a group of classmates who became known as the “Fab Five.” The others were Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson.

Personally, that nickname always annoyed me. The University of Kentucky had a team known as the “Fabulous Five” that won back-to-back NCAA titles in 1948 and ’49. As far as I’m concerned, that always will be the one and only “Fab Five.” The Michigan group wasn’t nearly as good. You could look it up.

As freshmen in 1992, Webber and his pals advanced to the NCAA championship game and were defeated by the Duke team that needed a miracle shot by Christian Laettner to beat Kentucky in the East Regional final. As sophomores, they made it back to the NCAA title game in New Orleans, where they were defeated by North Carolina, due mainly to a historic gaffe by Webber.

In the final seconds of the game, with the outcome still in doubt, Webber called a time out that Michigan didn’t have. Coach Steve Fisher already had used his allotment. That decided the game. The Tar Heels made some free throws, got possession of the ball and won the title.

Many felt sorry for Webber. Sometimes, under pressure, young people can make costly mistakes on the national stage. But what we didn’t know at that time was that Webber apparently was accepting hundreds of thousands from a big gambler and Michigan booster named Ed Martin.

It makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Three members of Kentucky’s original “Fabulous Five” — Ralph Beard, Alex Groza and Dale Barnstable — were barred from professional basketball for their roles in the point-shaving scandal of the early 1950s. Yet they also played on two national championship teams. The “Fab Five” at Michigan didn’t win a single one, and possibly blew another because of Webber’s gaffe.

Yet today Webber is making millions as the star power forward for the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association.

When Martin’s, ah, largesse became known, Michigan did the right thing by forfeiting the games won when Webber was playing, taking down the Big Ten championship banners and repaying the NCAA for the tournament money it won during Webber’s care.

Webber admitted lying to a grand jury and pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal contempt. Unfortunately, Martin died, eliminating any possibility of knowing more about the truth.

The University of Michigan recently asked Webber to pay it $695,000 for losses incurred by NCAA sanctions and the attendant legal fees. Webber’s response? Refusal and indignation.

“What is the money for?” Webber told USA Today. “What money am I repaying? When you repay something, it means you stole something or took something from the university.”

Obviously, the big fella still doesn’t get it.

He did take something from the University of Michigan, a proud academic institution. He robbed it of its reputation in college basketball. He stole some of its integrity and cost it a ton of money, too. And now he balks at paying his debts.
What a jerk.

Even if he paid the university the $695,000 that it has requested — which, by the way, he could easily afford — it wouldn’t be enough. Not even close, considering what his actions have cost the university in image and humiliation.

Finally, a question about the so-called “integrity of the game.”

After Bill Spivey led Kentucky to the 1951 NCAA championship, he also was implicated in the point-shaving scandal. He voluntarily removed himself from the team, pending the outcome of an investigation.

Of the 30 or so players who were accused, he was the only one who pleaded not guilty. He went to trial in New York, where a jury was hung 9-3 in his favor. He passed two lie-detector tests.

Yet Spivey, who would have become the first great 7-foot center in NBA history, was barred for life from playing in the league. He ended up as something of a clown, playing for the teams that always lost to the Harlem Globetrotters.

Spivey never made a “mistake” that cost his team a national title, as Webber did in 1993. He was never associated with a known gambler and booster who paid him more than $600,000.

Yet Chris Webber, center for the “Fab Five,” plays on for the Kings, gets paid millions and acts offended that Michigan wants him to at least partly repay a debt.

And the NCAA probably will set up yet another committee to study why people have lost their faith in college athletics.

10-03-2003, 07:21 AM