Feb/20

12

John Wayne Would Give Justin Gimelstob A Second Chance

By Scoop Malinowski

“A man deserves a second chance – but keep an eye on him.” – John Wayne

The journey to tennis greatness does not always end as poetically as a Roger Federer Wimbledon triumph.

Tennis can be a brutal blood sport, a lifetime full of hard work, sacrifice, suffering, frustration, perseverance and in the end, victory or defeat, success or failure.

Last year Justin Gimelstob was essentially kicked out of the sport, for a couple of violent episodes where his anger got out of control.

But should a man be judged at his worst moment? Should that be his final memory, his final chapter? His final chance to serve the sport? Or does he deserve a second chance at some point, to get back to doing what he does best? To have a shot at redemption?

The knee jerk reaction by many may be – ban for life.

There have been high profile athletes who succeeded and prospered and thrived after their second chances. Kobe Bryant was a rapist in his early 20s but bounced back and corrected himself and became a legendary, beloved champion in the NBA.

Mike Tyson was convicted of rape and his life spiraled out of control with a series of barbaric criminal behavior including assaults, threats of eating Lennox Lewis’s children, beating up Mitch Green on the street, heavy drug use, and who knows how many other crimes? Today, magically, Tyson has totally corrected himself and is now a beloved figure, making movies, writing books, doing TV shows, doing public appearances, and raising a talented tennis playing daughter who is a USTA ambassador. There may be no other example of a man rising from rockbottom to turn his life into a postive, than Tyson.

It all happened because Tyson got a second (or third or fourth) chance to redeem himself, change direction, and rewrite his life. And Tyson did it.

Marcelo Rios punched out a man and knocked him out cold in a Miami restaurant bathroom, the night he beat Andre Agassi to become ATP world no. 1, according to Nike exec Mike Nakajima, an anecdote I shared in my book Marcelo Rios: The Man We Barely Knew. Rios was also accused of pushing a woman out of a moving car. After these horrific lapses in judgement, Rios ended up having a pretty impressive career in tennis though of course, to many pundits, he underachieved.

A current International Hall of Fame player once threatened to beat the **** out of Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori in the locker rooms at ATP tournaments. His threatening bully behavior made both Novak and Kei cry. This player corrected himself and now has a much cleaner image, and was inducted into Newport.

Serena Williams threatened violence on officials but corrected and redeemed herself.

Several well known former champions have abused drugs but have much cleaner images than their actual lifestyles.

The journey from juniors to pro is not a smooth ride. Lots of players go through extreme pressure and suffering to become pro players. I’m not privy to what Gimelstob endured on his junior to pro journey but we can guess it was filled with ups and downs and parental pressures which probably impacted his adult behavior. Not that I’m making excuses for Gimelstob but super intense competitors have trouble controlling their fire sometimes in the heat of battle.

Paul Holmgren was my hockey hero as a kid. He was an enforcer and fighter and also an All Star for the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1980s. Years after he retired, a teammate told me he used to play racquetball with Holmgren who sometimes became so fiercely competitive in racquetball doubles, he would “throw body checks and drop F bombs.” I met Holmgren many times and interviewed him. Nicest, most humble, gentle guy you could ever meet. But in the arena of competition, even as a retired athlete and as an active upper management employee, his fierce drive to win could be triggered easily.

George McPhee, the current VP and former General Manager of the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL, was also a tough but undersized fighting type player during his playing career with the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils in the 1980s. In one of his first years as GM for the Washington Capitals in the 1990s, the Rutgers Law School graduate McPhee took exception to the way an opposing coach instructed his team to play violently against his players in a preseason game. McPhee, dressed in suit and tie, visited the Chicago Blackhawks locker room after the game and got into a fist fight with the opposing coach. He was suspended by the NHL for months.

I see Gimelstob as a similar, fiery personality like Holmgren and McPhee, who both are very successful figures today in the NHL despite their fierce competitive natures which presumably are now under control.

A tennis player can never stop working to improve their games, the same holds true for a human being working at self improvement. I’m fairly certain Gimelstob has worked on improving his character and life in the last six months.

I believe Gimelstob deserves a chance to redeem himself in pro tennis in some kind of capacity. Who knows, maybe if given a chance he will contribute his best work for his sport, like Bryant and many others have after hitting rock bottom.

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48 comments

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 12, 2020 at 8:14 pm

    If Mike Tyson could turn his life around, why can’t Justin Gimelstob?

  • Andrew Miller · February 12, 2020 at 11:37 pm

    Obvious, he has to be under someone’s fold, like a Bolletieri who would give him a chance with about a thousand conditions. There’d have to be a Gimelstob pre incidents and post incident, and someone there. Gil Reyes has been known to work miracles. Agassi had some spiritual support. There’s a way back to something, and it’s the kind of hard work a former player like Gimel could do, but definitely not on his own. I think all have seen the worst of Gimelstob for many years. I thought he was clinically wrong when I saw him – the first time he was a young kid – uber talented and on the rise. The next time, a young veteran that hadn’t made much of himself and had the worst behavior of any player I’d ever seen on a practice court. Then as a young veteran playing some spellbinding tennis in a match about pride against the then next generation a while back. His uninspiring stint at the microphone where he seemed to take for granted that the tennis channels were giving him the opportunity to work a dream job. Then through the Kournikova stupidity where he publicly humiliated her on a radio show, then…the list goes on and on.

    So why not another chance fine. Just not another chance to make a fool of himself. He’s too good at that. He shouldn’t have that kind of opportunity. He should swallow his pride and do some community service in the tennis world. And get a mentor that cares about him so he doesn’t go down the rabbit hole again.

  • Anonymous · February 13, 2020 at 12:00 am

    The timing of this is very interesting, Scoop. Do you know something else that you are not saying? I am just curious if you know something I do not.

    Justin recently had a birthday celebration with many, many recognizable tennis faces there so he is paving the way for that return. I am told he continues to be in contact with a certain top-ranked men’s player who recently won a Slam. I know that he also enjoys support from a prominent female tennis journalist and more than likely other media members as well.

    In addition, many of us received the press release on Gimelstob’s $20,000 donation to a children’s foundation that was distributed by none other than the man itself in a stroke of PR genius.

    I will be surprised if he is not back in some official capacity by the time the U.S. Open comes around.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 13, 2020 at 8:06 am

    The return of Anonymous! With another typical intriguing post! Been thinking about the invisible Gimelstob now and then and wondering how it would be to see him back on Tennis Channel or even as a producer behind the scenes. How this whole experience changed him for the better? Or worse?

  • Harold · February 13, 2020 at 9:20 am

    Wow!! This is quite the 360.. Weren’t you calling for him to b jailed, now you’re starting his rehab tour.. too freaking funny

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 13, 2020 at 9:52 am

    I felt the same way about Tyson when he was at his lowest worst time in the mid 2000s. But miraculously he reversed his fortunes and went from a negative to a positive. Tyson was far far worse than Gimelstob. Like John Wayne says, every man deserves a second chance. Do you disagree Harold?

  • Jon King · February 13, 2020 at 10:12 am

    Yes, Paul Holmgren was a racquetball madman! He played in Brookhaven, PA at a club my buddy owned at the time.

  • Andrew Miller · February 13, 2020 at 10:21 am

    No. Thanks. Mr. Gimelstob is a piece of work, and obviously learned not a lesson whatsoever. His flaws will continue to eat him alive, and it’s because he learns nothing.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 13, 2020 at 10:21 am

    Jon, share some stories of Holmgren as a raquetball beast please. I got the story I shared from Joe Micheletti, the Rangers TV analyst who was also a former NHL defenseman. After the Biofile I did with Joe we talked a bit and he told me how fierce a competitor my hero Holmgren was in racquetball. What a great player Holmgren was to watch when he played for the Flyers.

  • Andrew Miller · February 13, 2020 at 10:25 am

    “Career singles record of 107-172”. I guess former No. 1 US juniors have done worse – DY is 124 Wins to 189 losses. A sense of how much Spadea is better than other former top US juniors: 311 wins to 359 losses. Not 0.500 but more than double Gimel.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 13, 2020 at 10:33 am

    But Gimelstob fared better vs Hewitt, Spadea couldn’t do anything with Hewitt. 🙂

  • Harold · February 13, 2020 at 10:39 am

    People definitely deserve second chances..your change of heart is shocking. Seemed you had a personal vendetta when you were railing against Gimel when the event happened.

    Tyson was a thug from childhood, fell to the lowest depths, then was rehabilitated professionally and personally..good for him..I’m still thankful I didn’t start laughing when I spoke to him, would’ve kicked my ass

  • Jon King · February 13, 2020 at 10:39 am

    Scoop, several of the Stanley Cup Flyers purchased about 4 acres of land along a creek in Brookhaven, PA. They built a 30000 square foot building which they originally used as an community ice rink. In addition, some very wild parties took place there after hours!

    Later it was purchased by a guy who converted it to racquetball and fitness. Holmgren and several of the Flyers would play there. There were a bunch of courts with plexiglass so you could watch the players. My buddy told me the Flyers got so heated when they competed, they broke down the plexiglass a number of times.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 13, 2020 at 10:43 am

    No personal vendetta but it was disturbig how it was being covered up which was wrong very wrong. It seemed almost everyone was trying to sweep it under the rug like it never happened. Adler and Ray Moore deserved better.

  • Andrew Miller · February 13, 2020 at 10:51 am

    “a wasted talent”, on or off the court. Community service. None of this comeback stuff. My opinion. Guy learns nothing, has deep problems and makes poor choices. Worst on court behavior in practice I’ve ever seen, even leaving aside the awful things he calls himself when he missed a ball.

    Needs to pay the piper. Lots of community service. Lots of it. Learn to appreciate what he had, given, etc. Not a guy that does that. Without fail. Not a changed man.

    If he knew what was good for him he’d spend time with people of character that would encourage the good in him and put him to work. Another example of a former player that couldn’t stop mucking himself up, lost without the game even if he never left it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 13, 2020 at 11:02 am

    Jon, those old Flyers racquetball battles were surely more physical than the NHL today 🙂 I think some tennis players have freakish intensity like some hockey players. McEnroe, Gimelstob, Andrew Ilie, Hewitt, Serena, Paes, Maria, Nadal, Connors, Safin, Goran. I played hockey for Kean College and many leagues and I would snap sometimes if somebody did something dirty or to a teammate. I even started a brawl in our game at the Meadowlands before a Devils Jets game when we were losing 7-2 in the third period. And I still get triggered sometimes on the tennis court if somebody gets lippy or tries something dirty. My guess is Gimelstob has this short fuse tenacious side too and it still gets triggered. From now on he will have to bite his lip and hold it in if someone tries to provoke him or just avoid all situations that could be trouble. As we know there are some pricks out there.

  • Andrew Miller · February 13, 2020 at 11:09 am

    Scoop, I disagree completely. Gimelstob needs serious, long-term therapy and a different take on life. This is not some short fuse kind of thing – he has exhibited this for many years (to my count this is decade four of bad behavior from him – not good in the 1990s, not good in the 2000s, not good in the 2010s, we are now in the 2020s).

    He can embrace his recovery, which cant be a shallow PR stunt no matter how much money he donates, he can’t donate his way to decency on a daily basis. And if can’t work around his triggers he can at least beg for help from people that can guide him here and from a better set-up.

    Why I recommend Bolletieri or something like that, or maybe join Mary Pierce who finds a higher purpose, or volunteer teaching tennis to kids who otherwise wouldn’t learn the sport. Defending this guy is not just a lonely endeavor – it’s not right and not really right for Gimelstob.

    Sure another chance with the right set-up, but not this ginned up thing. The more durable kind of recovery where he learns from his mistakes and becomes a better person. He’s hurt a lot of people. A lot. Verbally and physically.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 13, 2020 at 11:17 am

    Andrew, I can’t see him blowing up again, there would be no return if he did. Tyson was far worse and yet he managed to totally change his character. He found peace somehow. And Tyson had it far worse. Tyson was broke and at the end of his career, he was homeless and on drugs. Bitter abour being exploited out of hundreds of millions. And yet somehow Tyson rebuilt himself and became a positive force with no more blowups. I remember his first move was doing the pigeon show on Animal Planet, had a bit part in that one big Hollywood movie, and then the one man Broadway show where he talked about his life and it was a huge success. He started doing tons of appearances all over the world for big money. It’s a miracble how Tyson turned his life around from the worst negative into a positive. I don’t see why Gimelstob can’t take inspiration from Tyson and do it too.

  • Scoop Malinowski · February 13, 2020 at 11:19 am

    I recommend reading the Tyson book Undisputed Truth.

  • Harold · February 13, 2020 at 11:22 am

    Scoop still holds the record for most racquet tosses, and the distance toss records at Columbia Tennis Courts

  • Andrew Miller · February 13, 2020 at 11:30 am

    So long as Gimelstob has people that care about him monitoring him and helping him change, that’s possible. It’s extremely hard work. Being a former athlete would help him in terms of the discipline required, but it would be a LOT harder because he’s have to stick with it until the end.

    I don’t believe he’s capable. If he reads this, which I hope he does, I hope that motivates him to find help so that he can recover and heed better advice.

  • Jeff · February 13, 2020 at 11:58 am

    I’m with Andrew. Get Gimel out of here. What he did has no business in the tennis world. I suggest working kids clinics and helping grow the sport that way.

    Does he actually read this site? I can’t believe that. If so, I do hope he gets serious treatment so he can act better in the future.

  • RK · February 13, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    Always interesting to read the opinions of those who don’t know Justin personally, and certainly don’t have real knowledge regarding his personal life.

  • RK · February 13, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    Always interesting to read commentary from those who do not know Justin personally, and most certainly are unaware of his personal life, beyond what they read in the press.

  • Andrew Miller · February 13, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    Scoop, I don’t know – has Gimelstob stared into the abyss and decided that’s it, he’s ready to turn the leaf every single day? I don’t have the answer to that. It’s a lot harder than writing a check and hand-delivering it. That is has decided to go media-first rather than build out his positive presence in another way – I don’t know what that says. Maybe to show others he cares.

    I don’t think so, I don’t think there’s a role for him with a microphone. Gimelstob is radio-active. Anyways, Jon Wertheim, who likes him a lot, I think had the absolute best take for Gimelstob, it was perfect. If Gimelstob is following that, great. He needs a lot of help. Tennis isn’t ready for him to come back.

    https://www.si.com/tennis/2019/04/24/mailbag-justin-gimelstob-battery-case-tennis-channel-atp

    Are there players that are worse than Gimelstob on tour? I am sure there are. With anger management problems, with personal problems, and that do bad things. In fact, Kyrgios until some point was heading down that kind of path and has, recently, shown he has no interest in doing more of that (hopefully that’s permanent, but who knows).

    Gimelstob should become more fluent in his problems and he needs serious help. I think Wertheim’s letter draft is perfect and I hope Gimelstob reads it every day.

  • Sherry · February 13, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    The judge ordered Gimelstob to perform community service and undergo anger management therapy – some of the things Andrew recommends. Presumably, those activities are ongoing. Are they effective? Who knows? But if Gimelstob gets into trouble again, we’ll know about it soon enough (the Daily Telegraph will keep us informed).

    I don’t especially miss Gimelstob as a broadcaster (initially I disliked him, but I got used to him and he probably improved over time; some of his replacements at Tennis Channel are better, some worse). As a coach, he may have helped Isner. And his ideas for a greater share of profits to players seemed to me spot-on.

    In an earlier thread, I was bemused by the strong criticism of the LTA by people who earlier seemed to believe that the share of Wimbledon revenue currently going to the players (possibly 14%, but kept mysterious) was quite adequate and the lion’s share belonged primarily to the LTA. Players are replaceable, it was said (but apparently not administrators). Personally, I believe in playing the talent, beyond those at the very top.

    No one paid much attention to the claims of the Comptroller of New York that the U.S. Open was hiding revenue to avoid paying the City of New York its contractual share. I don’t know what’s happened with this, but it did strike me that if the Comptroller of New York can be deceived, the players are fully justified in demanding transparency.

    Incidentally, maybe Posposil’s political activity has somehow empowered his tennis game – based on recent results, anyway. I hope the trend continues.

  • Andrew Miller · February 13, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    To me the LTA issue is the outcomes, which are bad. The sport’s not in a great spot in the UK, and the “sense of complacency”, from a distance, appears very palpable.

    The LTA at some level must recognize it has an aging Andy Murray and few to no irons in the fire to motivate Generation What Comes Next. They should have recognized that in the year 2006, when Murray was on fire, Edmund was on deck, and then a drop off the mountain.

    I appreciate the brash comments of Anton Matusevich – Matusevich saying “I am my own tennis idol” was pretty unbelievable (and kind of wish there were a little more of it, however self-serving that kind of statement is) and the decent run of Arthur Fery. Maybe someone that knows these guys better can weigh in.

  • Jeff · February 13, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    Always interesting to see people defend an action described as a “violent, unprovoked attack.” Especially unnamed people who claim to know the person who did the attack.

    Having said that, from what I understand, Gimelstob is too powerful in the tennis world to not return and everybody thinks it will happen like Scoop. I would guess too that he has nothing else going on in his life other than tennis – i.e. does he have other interests like art or cooking or whatnot. The guy has spent his entire life hitting a little yellow ball so he has no other purpose in this society, really. From that standpoint, he should be back in tennis.

  • Jeff · February 13, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    I’ll add this, it’s nice if the guy did indeed donate $20,000 but that’s why he strikes me as the type of person who uses his wealth to buy his way through life. That’s why I suggested mentoring children and teaching them tennis as opposed to donating to a foundation. I think that would also help humble someone with his anger issues.

    So, donating money is never proof of being a great guy in my eyes. Literally everybody does it, especially the rich.

  • Andrew Miller · February 13, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    Gimelstob: Felony Battery Charge to which Gimelstob plead NO CONTEST AKA YOU GOT ME. Can’t paint that to be bright and rosy.

    Only struck the victim fifty times. Just 50 times. I mean, at least it’s not just once. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    You do the math on what it takes to come back into anyone’s graces. His colleagues will see him and be glad to see him, and certainly still enjoy speaking with him. And at some point in the future, maybe there are some viable ways back into the sport at different levels. His comeback may have begun, but those doors back to his old job and prominence are locked.

  • Andrew Miller · February 13, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    On Gimelstob I also add that his passions were just that – extraordinary passions for a bad situation. And he handled that in the worst possible way, and it wasn’t that different from some of his less notable incidents on a tennis court (at least a practice tennis court). This was written in the guys stars to some extent. To write a better chapter is going to be incredibly hard work. Again if he is reading this stuff (because he googles himself, who knows) I hope he takes up that challenge and finds some help on the mental side and the spiritual side, rather than laugh it off and believe that he knows better than anyone.

    He doesn’t. He needs help. He’s a mess and he needs help. And he has to accept it all and take it seriously and realize he’s in the dog house for the rest of his life and there are no other second chances because he used them all up, and this is his final one.

  • Jeff · February 13, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    Right, Andrew. I remember reading the Corina Morariu book and how he became obsessed with her and started stalking her after they broke up. He also broke up her marriage and messed up her family life from what I remember. That was a red flag. So the fact he would hit someone 50 times isn’t surprising. Like you say passions, whether it’s beating someone up or stalking a woman. It’s just too much.

    I really believe characters like him need to be humbled by doing good for others, maybe working in an old folks home and wheeling people around or playing bingo. When you grow up rich and want everything your way, it isn’t healthy especially if you have anger issues which he clearly does.

  • Andrew Miller · February 13, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    Jeff, the donation is probably appreciated. The motives could be benign or not, or both – maybe as a media guy he felt he had to, maybe the organization wanted to thank him publicly or wanted to use his donation to invite other donations.

    I’m sure he does care. Caring isn’t enough. This is one good deed when the rest of his life while require thousands of them. If he is up for the challenge GREAT. Good works are good works. If he is running back to old habits, tough to stomach that one.

    From what I have seen watching him for decades now, my guess is: man can’t help himself. Needs help to help himself and others. New leaves are hard to turn. But he should take up that kind of bigger mission and square with the fact that he’s put a lot of bad karma out there and has been, for lack of a better word, a total fool and hurt everyone he loves and everyone he respects through this. So it’s a long way back to anyone’s graces and he should take on the challenge. It will be impossible because relapse is right there waiting for him to trip him up.

  • Andrew Miller · February 13, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    Yes, Jeff, I agree with what you’re saying. Gosh I didn’t know the Morariu story. Wow this will be a long road back, it looks like a life-time journey. This guy is so deep in the “stuff I have done absolutely and horrendously wrong” column that it’s really, really going to be hard. Having a pedestal and platform have been the worst things for this guy. If he really and truly wants to do good things, he should do them and forget about the rest of it. And people should help him by not indulging him. Your suggestion of volunteering at a retirement community, maybe play bingo and checkers and learn to be a decent human again.

    He’d probably be a very competitive bingo player. So many no bingo and no checkers. Maybe just helping out.

  • catherine · February 13, 2020 at 3:13 pm

    Andrew – I don’t think it’s a ‘sense of complacency’ which is becalming the LTA – I think it’s rather inertia.
    Lack of interest in tennis, as I suggested before, can’t wholly be blamed on the LTA. Can’t make bricks out of straw.

    I’m not sure what Sherry’s point is. The details of W’don revenues and the portion which goes to the LTA is a matter of public record I believe, if anyone can be bothered to look it up. And if players want a bigger slice of the cake they’ll have to argue it out with the AEC.

  • Andrew Miller · February 13, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    LTA, and I think USTA in the states too, should attempt to recruit players from other sports like football/soccer, etc. It matches up well with the requirements of tennis (e.g., eye-hand coordination) and with the need for multi-sport athletes that can find something in tennis they may not find in football/soccer, skiing, etc.

    I think it’s not right to just encourage kids age 4 to play the sport for a day and then leave them be and say YEAH we exposed a kid to tennis…that never works. I have seen many, many, many public clinics where kids learn tennis for the first time ever, and possibly for the last time (usually is my guess). It seems fundamentally misguided.

    It’s a lot different to see a pro match first and then back into the sport. With so many empty seats at many tournaments, the least they could do is reach out to schools and communities and find some young fans. Actually grow some appreciation in and curiosity about the sport.

    But as is standard: backwardness breeds more of same. My real intro to the sport was a friend’s birthday party with balls whizzing by – he was a young high ranked player in the 10 and unders. It didn’t make a huge impression but I remembered it when I took a few lessons a few years later and then saw a pro match. I wasn’t hooked until I saw myself getting better and playing sports more seriously, and then I said man, this is a cool sport. It was about a five year period of constant exposure. The best players were obsessives – they came from families that played a lot of tennis and a lot of sports overall, or had a crazy fanatical parent. Barring the latter, could find a lot of athletes that wouldn’t mind playing tennis.

    Goes to show for me that the way the sport is brought to the masses is a terrible way to grow the sport.

  • RK · February 13, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    Not sure why you would need to know my name, and I don’t “claim” to know Justin. I’ve known Justin and his family for more than 30 years, and I’ve been a tennis insider, having worked as a player agent, coach, and sponsorship consultant for more than 20 years. While I’m not at liberty to enlighten you with so many significant details of Justin’s ordeal, I will suggest that if you were fully aware of all relevant facts, you might just have a very different opinion, that is, of course, if you are not married to “alternative facts.” And by the way, do you really believe that the so called attack was “unprovoked”, and that a 6’5” ex professional athlete could take 50 clean swings at a guys head without killing him, or at least putting him in a hospital for some time without a serious concussion? The other commentary about Justin not having a life outside of tennis is ridiculous as well, it merely demonstrates how little you know about who you talk about. And the sarcasm regarding his gift of $20,000. I suppose you are ignorant to the fact that Justin has been raising significant money for decades for children with cancer and other serious health issues. But that’s ok, keep the hate for Justin coming…

  • Harold · February 13, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    The all-time greatest “ don’t you know who I am” story, whether really true or not. Is a story I heard of Gimelstob’s brother getting pulled over in New Orleans, and telling the cop” don’t you know who I am, I’m Justin Gimelstobs brother”…should have been locked up for that weak move..hope he was drunk, only excuse

  • Andrew Miller · February 13, 2020 at 4:42 pm

    Ok, fair enough. Hitting someone fifty times would kill them or come close to it – Gimelstob is not a small person. As Jon Wertheim said, Gimelstob’s “felony charge” was re-categorized quickly as a misdemeanor.

    No small deal. At all.

    And as to his changing, no way. Gimelstob has a history of being given second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth chances, and he has delivered, every time, something for that chance to be withdrawn. I’m not sure why people file restraining orders against him (or he against them) – but they are probably all warranted. It makes no sense otherwise.

    He was given community service for a reason and in my opinion merits more of it. A LOT MORE. This should have been meted out years ago, before his personal conflicts erupted, and should have coincided with his past disparagement of players.

    Gimelstob has shown an absolutely shockingly low level of self-awareness, and every single time has said he learned about people and how to conduct himself before then landing himself in another quagmire and showing little to no remorse.

    Thankfully some players brushed it aside and says hey that’s how he talks. It wasn’t that it was bad but absolutely awful. No way to carry yourself, not a way for a broadcaster to speak about others in a sport where the network is everything and you are representing them, not the other way around.

    Anyways Gimelstob invites a lot of bad karma. I said it before and will say it again, he needs a lot of help and support and to do a lot of community service, a lot more than 60 hours. No I don’t think he has met any criteria for a road back to the sport – he’s at more than three strikes going back a long time. It will be a long road back, the networks will not touch him, he is radio-active and will be until he charts a better way back.

  • Jeff · February 13, 2020 at 7:33 pm

    So Gimelstob’s PR apparently extends to having someone posting on this site with no new information and defending these actions with no sense of accountability. How about he was wrong and he is taking responsibility for his actions. That is what we are looking for. Not fake PR and whatnot.

    You say he has been “raising money” for years. I acknowledge that. The man is rich and knows many millionaires, I acknowledge that. As Andrew said, that doesn’t really tell us anything.

    You say he has other interests outside of sports? Yet you don’t name one. It is clear that he doesn’t since he is so desperate to get back into the sport, and I say he is desperate when you have to resort to your buddies coming on the internet to defend you and having anonymous sources report on your good deeds that may or may not have happened.

    I don’t want to know your name or who you are but you need to take a hard look at yourself if you support this kind of behavior. And it’s not surprising that Gimelstob has gone off the boil so many times with enablers like this on his side.

  • Jeff · February 13, 2020 at 7:37 pm

    Good point Andrew, he is googling himself and coming to this post. That’s exactly what a narcissist would do and have his cronies incite these fights with us and claim we “don’t know the facts.”

  • Andrew Miller · February 13, 2020 at 8:04 pm

    Jeff, I think it’s great Gimelstob donates to causes. I can be very cynical and see that in my opinion of Gimelstob – there’s nothing wrong with his donations to a cause he supports. If that helps with his recuperation all the better. If it also helps on the PR side fine…players and people do have reputations and many people like the idea of doing a good deed and also having higher status. I’ll go with the least cynical take I can: Gimelstob ok’d the press release noting his donation to attract his friends donations and raise more funds for the charity. It was marketing to people he knows for a cause he cares about and hopefully fetching some more funds for a good cause.

    That’s as charitable I can be without saying something mean and possibly far from the truth. Or close to it. Whatever, good for Gimelstob and if his name merits more donations good for the charity for recognizing that.

    As for the other issues I don’t know but I don’t believe people file restraining orders for fun, it’s a serious step. In theory they could but in this case the race between Gimelstob and his counterparties to attain restraining orders is interesting, I guess there is a mutual fear among all of them. The fact restraining orders were filed against Gimelstob in the past doesn’t help, but I’d guess there’s a larger story there too.

    Generally and I hope those here recognise it I liked Gimelstob a lot and believed he and his game had a lot of promise. I don’t think he ever made good on the full promise of that potential on the court. Off the court he strikes me as a walking and talking tragedy. I didn’t enjoy his on court interviews – his last match I think the interviewer kind of implied that Gimelstob didn’t have to leap for all these balls and Gimelstob replied (odd in the first place to have an on court interview for the last match of a lower level player) that he leapt for every ball he could during his career. I don’t remember him being quite that and don’t believe he worked as hard as other players and he had said before that he had a certain laziness when it came to tennis. That he worked hard but not as hard as many. Well, it showed. His results showed that he didn’t work as hard as many others. His drop in athleticism showed he didn’t work as hard as many. His injuries showed he didn’t take care of himself as much as many, etc. At least he said this straightforwardly.

    Gimelstob signed early with a big agency and it was a $million deal, which for the mid 1990s was pretty good. He had been a top US player his whole life as a junior, every division in every direction. He wasn’t breaking through and creeping alongside this inability to follow up some big wins was an equally enormous insecurity that was very obvious. The way the guy would lash out at himself…he had a special ability to put himself down with some of the worst words out there. Profane and definitely unsportsmanlike.

    But whatever sometimes players are like that. There’s a lot of bad language out there and a lot of fines racked up.

    Anyways I’m glad his case isn’t as severe as I said it was originally reported some time back. A misdemeanor is a lot better than a felony, and it’s still bad. Restraining orders are bad. And the things Gimelstob has done and invited are not good.

    Sure I wish him well. I’m always up for a redemption story. I’d be glad to see Gimelstob find a way to tell some good stories and turn a leaf many times over. He’s shown up until now he isn’t capable and needs a lot of help from people that care, so that he stops with the games. Stops putting others down to protect his fragile ego. And starts acting like someone that has something bigger than himself to uphold. It’s going to be impossible without surrounding himself with people that have better judgement and that he can work for. Who believe in him but who he feels an obligation to uphold their standards for him.

    It’s not quite right to say this, I hope Kyrgios takes a lesson from Gimelstob story. That he should seek help now rather than play out upsetting future scenarios that tarnish himself, his fellow players, and his sport.

  • Jeff · February 13, 2020 at 8:14 pm

    I looked up the name of the Moririu book. It is: Living Through the Racket: How I Survived Leukemia … and Rediscovered My Self

    I highly recommend to learn more about Justin Gimelstob. And Moririu’s life is quite intriguing too.

  • catherine · February 14, 2020 at 1:08 am

    Andrew – you can’t actually force people to play tennis, and in Britain it’s going to take a lot to wean boys away from football which is a far more popular sport overall and a million times more remunerative for those who make the top ranks.

    As I said before I think it will take the appearance of a really star kind of young player (Gauff where are you ?) to catch public attention and give the LTA something to promote.

  • catherine · February 14, 2020 at 1:19 am

    Halep, Nadia Comaneci and other Roumanians lobby the government to provide more funds to build an infrastructure for tennis and other sports in Roumania. Unfortunately Roumania is a country suffering chronic economic difficulties and while the will is there the money is probably not. Which makes Simona’s achievements all the more remarkable. Nothing was handed to her on a plate.

  • Andrew Miller · February 14, 2020 at 10:16 am

    Catherine, not everyone can be a footballer 🙂 The UK has a healthy percent of the world’s tennis playing population, but has fewer coaches as compared with Spain, France, etc. I got this from the ITF report on tennis.

    In terms of clubs and tennis, Germany and France have a lot more of them! So that’s surprising that they make the club nature of the sport a factor. I think it’s a lot more basic than that – people don’t know or like tennis that much. Their exposure is weak and as you said, no exciting young stars. Andy Murray is no longer young, and his runs these days inspire people like me, but not people a quarter or fifth my age 🙂

    http://itf.uberflip.com/i/1169625-itf-global-tennis-report-2019-overview/11?

  • catherine · February 14, 2020 at 11:22 am

    Andrew – of course not everyone can be a footballer but football is by far the most attractive option for sports minded children (boys mainly) at around the time they choose which to concentrate on. Also football can be played all over the place but tennis requires a court, net, lines, fence. At some cost.

    Coaches – I’m not up to date on coaching but possibly the centralisation of tennis over the past decade or two has had something to do with the smaller numbers. As far as clubs go, I’ll find out more about that. I admit I don’t follow domestic tennis and never have. You just hear the same stuff all the time.

    The overwhelming dominance of Wimbledon may have something to do with the UK situation – at least that used to be the received wisdom. No other country (and UK is small) has a similar event – huge attention for a couple of weeks and then nothing. Wimbledon kind of leaches the energy from tennis and leaves the sport flabby for the rest of the year.

    I’m afraid I don’t curl up with ITF reports for a relaxing read so you probably know more than I do.

  • Andrew Miller · February 14, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    Catherine, the stats show the UK has a healthy # of players and coaches – somewhat fewer coaches than France, Germany – but the sport remains pretty popular relative to other countries (some of which have better, though not more, pro players).

    The ITF report was…less than informative. Some areas of the world don’t produce many pro players. There…done!

    I don’t know how it all works. I appreciate Judy Murray said this when Andy Murray said, mostly in jest, that she could or should head the LTA, “I think somebody asked me that once before and I said I’d rather die”

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