Lost Lettermen is an online college sports magazine featuring an athlete database and first-person stories from former players. Today: Scot Pollard was the bizarro Nancy Reagan.
After discussing NCAA Tournament expansion and his desire to become an actor in Hollywood, Kansas' Scot Pollard is now ready to set the record straight over looking into a TV camera and saying, "Hey kids, do drugs" while in the NBA in 2007. Years after he was widely criticized over the comment, Pollard explains how it happened and why he isn't sorry for the remark.
The media. As an athlete, I hated them. ALL of them. Not personally but professionally. But I also knew you needed to treat them right. Sort of a "keep your friends close and you enemies closer" type of mentality. Throughout high school, college, and the NBA, I knew I had to treat them with respect or find out quickly my reputation could quickly become like Dr. Samuel Mudd.
Trust me, I know a little something about this. If you don't believe me, Google "Scot Pollard hey kids do drugs." What, for my ENTIRE career was a joke between me and the guys in the TV truck and meant for the guys in the truck only, turned into a media firestorm that turned me into a non-role model, drug-using, BAD person.
Here's the scene. Throughout my career, I've been known to crack a few jokes. Being a guy that jokes with fans, friends, refs, as well as the TV crew, I could be counted on for humor. As such, it became a common thing for me to tell some off-color jokes to the guys in the truck (producers, directors, editors, etc.). So when there was a lull in the action, cameramen – at the direction of various directors I've never met – would come up to me and have me tell a dirty joke or story to just the guys.
In Cleveland in 2007, a cameraman came up during a time-out and told me that one of the guys in the truck went to my alma mater's arch nemesis, Missouri! I immediately tried to think of some horrible joke to say about the Tigers, which I did.
Next timeout, same cameraman, same story. So I looked into the camera and said, "Hey kids, do drugs." After I said that, I looked at the camera, noticed the little red light on the camera was on, and immediately realized the mistake I had just made. It was on regional television, not just to the TV truck.
The NBA called, the Cavaliers called, my relatives called, my friends called. (My good friends had really horrible things to say. What are friends for?) I was punished and forced to make a statement. I lied and said it was a bad joke. I NEVER said I'm sorry. I never apologized. I meant what I said. It was a joke. For the guys in the truck, not for the general public. Of course I left this out of my statement. My only mistake was assuming the cameraman was doing what he had done at the previous timeout, and what other cameramen had done throughout my career.
Do I blame him? No way. Like I said at the start, it's every NBA players' job to treat the media as a friend, even though at times they are the enemy. I should have paid better attention. I should have told a joke like that in person, not to a camera.
I have three children of my own. I don't use drugs. I thought it was an incredibly ironic, funny statement for a father of three that has never even had a DUI to say, "Hey kids, do drugs." I grew up Mormon. My entire family is Mormon. I don't do drugs, nor do I want kids to do drugs. I know a lot of NBA players that got busted for having, using and selling drugs.
Yet a guy with a squeaky-clean track record in legal terms says the wrong thing at the wrong time and I'm immediately labeled a media pariah. I still think it's funny. I always will. Irony is one of my favorite forms of comedy. Like when people call me "Tiny." I smile. That's funny.
A guy that retired from the NBA when he could have kept playing so that he could spend more time with his kids telling the public, "Hey kids, do drugs." That's hilarious!
And if you haven't figured it out by now, I don't really care if you do or not!