Feinstein: Leonsis treatment of Buckhantz 'stunningly embarrassing'

Chris Lingebach
March 08, 2019 - 4:39 pm
Steve Buckhantz could soon be out as Wizards announcer

Twitter: @SteveBuckhantz

When news broke this week that the Wizards could be moving on from longtime play-by-play announcer Steve Buckhantz after the season, fans were stunned. Utterly dumbfounded.

For the last 22 years, Buckhantz has been an institution in D.C. sports. His 'dagger' calls put the button on every game-winning shot and are en essential part of this town's lexicon. His voice is as much a part of what few great Wizards moments there have been in the past two decades as the players who made them happen on the court.

Change first came two years ago, when Phil Chenier, Buckhantz's broadcast partner through his first 20 years, was pushed out the door in a similarly shocking manner. Now, it seems, the hook is coming for Buckhantz, too.

"It's amazing that Ted Leonsis, who made a list of 100 promises to Wizards fans when he bought the team, has turned out to be such a tone-deaf owner," Thom Loverro said panning the decision. "I mean, he used this word all the time, 'We're gonna be transparent,' and he's done just the opposite. It's stunning that Hockey Ted and Basketball Ted are the same guy."

"Tell me," 106.7 The Fan columnist Rick Snider wrote. "In what universe is Wiz general manager Ernie Grunfeld still employed, but Buckhantz isn't?

"This is a dagger."

Longtime WaPo columnist and best-selling author John Feinstein was aghast at the news as well.

"It's remarkable that about the only thing that's been good and right about the Wizards in the last 20 years has been their TV broadcast team of Buck and Phil Chenier," Feinstein told The Junkies Friday morning. "Two years ago, the Leonsises, for reasons that I don't think any of us understand yet, decided to jettison Phil.

"And now apparently they're going to do the same thing with Buck, for reasons that probably none of us will ever understand. Change for the sake of change. Maybe they think they can make a splash with another play-by-play person. Maybe they want to create the first all-women's team doing an NBA team, because Zach Leonsis will think that's really a cool thing or something."

"Putting aside the fact that Steve is one of the best in the business," he said, "the way they've treated two guys now, who have been incredibly loyal to the franchise – in Phil's case, for 40 years; in Buck's case, 22 – is just stunningly embarrassing. The Leonsises should be embarrassed, but I'm sure they're not."

Ever the professional, Buckhantz has managed to put on a brave face and toe the company line through it all.

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