I think Daniel Negreanu read my last article about him.
During a recent interview for British magazine Poker Player, Negreanu apparently intended on take the training wheels off his sparkling clean spokesperson image to ride his big boy Huffy. When asked how he felt about men playing in the all-women event this year at the World Series of Poker, he had the following to say:
What irked me is men playing, using tampons as card protectors, and Shaun Deeb wearing a dress. I like Shaun Deeb, though. He’s a good kid – I think he was just misinformed. But then Annie Duke sticks her nose out and says, ‘Good for you, men, standing up for sexual equality.’ What a load of baloney! They are not standing up for sexual equality. Then she made some points in her blog that she thinks this event should be abolished, and I’m thinking, there are 1,000 women who love to play poker with each other, and don’t want to have to deal with guys burping, farting and using tampon card protectors and stuff like that.
What irked me is that this woman has the audacity on her website to call herself ‘the best female poker player in the world’. So on one side of the coin she’s fighting for, ‘Oh, we’re all equal, there shouldn’t be any gender thing,’ but when appropriate she decides to call herself the best female poker player in the world.
So I’m like how offensive are you, you f***ing c***? You want to say you’re speaking for women, yet you claim superiority over all of them.
That’s one hell of a way to break an image. While I agree to all extents that Duke is uppity, obnoxious, and an overall terrible human being (anyone familiar with her site’s cheating scandal and their lack of support for players having been cheated out of all of their money will understand this), Negreanu’s choice of words will momentarily do for his career what Tiger Woods going out and sleeping with anyone not named Elin Nordegren did for his.
Duke’s brother Howard Lederer was quick to respond via his Twitter account: “Hey Daniel, nice job representing poker and reinforcing that our attitude towards women is still Neanderthal.” Lederer was happy to respond because it meant his name would be included in articles such as mine and he would once again have relevance for a short period of time.
It didn’t take long for Negreanu’s major site sponsor to offer its impromptu damage control response:
Although Daniel Negreanu is a [sponsored pro], he is an entity to himself and as such will always be encouraged to express his views and speak his mind as he would otherwise do so, [sponsored pro] or not.
Annie Duke’s open letter didn’t seem all the worse for wear, as she seems generally content with being horribly berated by one of her peers just so long as her name appeared in the press:
I am not offended by Daniel’s opinion. He has a right to disagree with me and dislike me. And I, just like [his sponsors], would encourage him to express his views and opinions. This is not about his views. It is about a particular word he chose to express those views. The word “c***” is not an opinion, it is an abusive epithet, and [his sponsors] completely ignoring the use of that term in their response.
Negreanu is a grown man, even though his hyperactive, elfish demeanor may tell a different tale. He is responsible for his own actions and words. The mere fact Duke is looking for some sort of redeemable statement from his sponsors and is more offended they aren’t distancing themselves from him instead of looking to Negreanu for an apology is laughable at best.
For starters, Negreanu’s relationship is kismet: his sponsors need him, he needs his sponsors. Realistically, nobody is going anywhere in that relationship.
Secondly, the fact that Annie Duke is upset by how another site has handled itself is like John Wayne Gacy angrily calling somebody else a murderer or Cruella de Vil throwing paint on somebody else’s fur coat. If you want to comment on integrity, how about you start with writing an open letter to the loyal users of your site that got screwed by superusers.
Lastly, in that open letter, explain about how integrity is directly correlated to riding out a site sponsorship through public scandal and defined as resting easy at night with your endless, effortless fortune as multiple users who have lost a combined $1.5 million that they painstakingly grinded out now have absolutely nothing.
Albeit a poor choice of words, I think Negreanu was on to something.
Follow Ray Finkle on Twitter!