Lingebach: Leonsis' and NBC's treatment of Buckhantz was 'despicable'

Ben Krimmel
July 21, 2019 - 7:06 pm
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Dagger! An expression of joy around the DMV used to punctuate the final blow of a Washington Wizards made famous by longtime announcer Steve Buckhantz. 

Dagger: a tool used in the act of betrayal. 

Saturday on Bit Day, 106.7 The Fan's Chris Lingebach and Tom Daly recognized the dagger and said "J'accuse." 

"The fact that you can, back in March, kick this guy around let him dangle in the wind, and say, 'Well he might be back, he might not. We haven't decided yet,'" Lingebach said on 106.7 The Fan. "It's despicable. And he deserves a better sendoff than what he got."

Speaking with 106.7 The Fan earlier this week, Buckhantz pointed to Monumental Sports & Entertainment owner Ted Leonsis and his son, Zach, who serves as VP and GM for the company, saying he has not heard from either since the start of this process.

"If somebody from our company had gone up to Ted and Zach and said, 'Listen, we're thinking about changing the hockey announcers, because I'm just not sure about them,' you don't think he would have looked them right in the face and said 'that's not happening'?" Buckhantz said.

"Well, that didn't happen here, so that's unfortunate, and that's the most hurtful thing," he continued. "And I have not heard from Ted or Zach at all since this has happened, or since the whole process even began, and that's also hurtful."

Lingebach points to this disrespect as central to the failing of Leonsis and NBC Sports Washington.

"(Buckhantz) said he was actually hurt by the fact that he hadn't heard from Ted or Zach Leonsis this entire time. That's disgusting in itself. And Ted deserves all the crap he's getting from fans right now for that. You don't treat people like that. You just don't do it and especially somebody who should deserve more, who does deserve more."

"It's disgusting and honestly to me, I have a hard time viewing Ted Leonsis as anything different of a person than Dan Snyder right now," Lingebach said. "As an owner, to me, he's made just as many questionable decisions and this is the most questionable decision that (he's) ever made. Even more so to me than letting Ernie Grunfeld stick around for (16) years. It doesn't make any sense."

"You're not the first person on this radio station to compare him to Dan Snyder," Daly added. "People are starting to come out of the woodwork and really see that how they're treating people is not in the way that a family or like an organization or as a team would treat people."

When the decision on Buckhantz was first announced in March, NBC Sports Washington general manager Damon Phillips said he made the call

“I think it’s important that you know, and that fans know, that as the GM it’s really my responsibility to make sure we have the right talent. These decisions, they start and they end with me. We are performing our due diligence and exploring all options. The key is that the door is not closed on Steve’s return, and there’s a possibility he could return in his role,” Phillips said.

Feinstein: Leonsis treatment of Buckhantz 'stunningly embarrassing'

Buckhantz disagreed.

"Team. Team. Team. Team has all say in this," Buckhantz said. "Let's not be mistaken about that. There was a reason that John Miller was fired from the Orioles, the best announcer in all of baseball. He wasn't enough of a homer and he was let go. Mel Proctor in the same situation. Two of the best announcers there are."

Lingebach recounts using the phrase "Dagger!" with his friends in high school and the bond they shared with the team because of Buckhantz.

"We all loved that because he was a part of D.C. sports and he was a part of the identity," Lingebach said.

Part of that identity is now gone.

"The way that they treated him is despicable," Lingebach said. "If you wanna make the decision to move on, okay. But treat the guy with respect, he's an institution."

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Listen to the full episode of Bit Day here:

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