Did the Miami Herald Erase a Controversial Dwyane Wade Quote?

Yesterday, the Miami Herald published a story online including a sort of pompous but not really controversial quote from Heat star Dwyane Wade in which he said he accepts that people may hate the team, but other teams will be thanking them when they come to town and sell out the arena. Now that quote has quietly disappeared from the Herald's site. Fishy, especially considering the deletion comes just a week after ESPN was criticized for posting, and then deleting, an entire story about LeBron James. But is it indicative of the Heat's desire to suppress bad press or just the way the Herald seems to work clumsily?

Here's the quote as it originally appeared yesterday online in a column by either Mike Wallace or reporter Israel Gutierrez (or as he's currently credited in his byline, "Israel Gutierrez Crline"; the byline right now is messed up and we can't even tell which writer to credit):

"I understand people are going to say stuff. And we accept it with open arms," Wade said. "And even on the road, because every place is going to sell out when we come to town. So [opposing teams] can thank us now."

Now it's gone.

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This comes a week after ESPN published and then pulled an entire story about LeBron James's trip to Las Vegas. The controversy of the spiking eclipsed any mild controversy the content would have sparked. It turned out, though, that the reporter didn't identify himself as such to the ballplayer, and LeBron didn't know the scenes would turn up on an ESPN website.

The Herald's own Dan Le Batard defended ESPN's decision but pointed out, "That kind of inconsistency hurts credibility and gives birth to conspiracy theories."

So what conspiracy theories could this quote erasure sprout? Did someone from the Heat's main office call the Herald and ask them to pull it? The Heat are notoriously touchy about press. For example, they refuse to work with New Times on just about any level even though most of our coverage is positive.

Yahoo! Sports finds the situation fishy:

Even stranger, a similar quote from Wade ("We're going to give Miami a show every night. And on the road every place is going to sell out when we come to town, so they can thank us now.") is present in a Miami Herald article from Jul. 13. Seems kind of fishy, right? Not quite as fishy as a huge profile being pulled from ESPN, but still.

The strange thing is that this quote is weeks old. It's not like Guiterrez calls Wade's cell phone anytime he needs a filler quote for a column. It comes from a news conference that Wade, James, and Chris Bosh gave July 7 and has been posted on NBA.com for weeks. Here's the full quote, actually.

You're trying to make we wanted to play when we got out there, heard the crowd. You're really trying to make us come out of the suit now. We're competitive.

And you don't make this decision to come together. And I understand people are going to say stuff. And we accept it with open arms. Bring it on.

That's why we play this game. We play this game to have that competitive nature, competitive juices. You expect those teams to say that. We don't expect them to say, okay, Miami's won it. We don't want that. We didn't play together so people can just lay down. We want to come out here and we want to give this Miami crowd a show every night. And even on the road. Because every place is going to sell out when we come to town. So they can thank us now. (Laughter).

So the quote Yahoo! thinks is similar is actually the same exact quote.

Oddly, the quote didn't make waves until yesterday when it was resurrected for the Herald piece. Numerous blogs excerpted it and tried to make a mountain of controversy out of an old molehill. 

The original story now found at that URL was credited solely to Mike Wallace and was written before the NBA confirmed the Heat would open the season against Boston. The story was rewritten when that was confirmed, apparently, and the old Wade quote was thrown out. Why it takes two reporters and numerous rewrites and edits for one simple story is a mystery.

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