The Wizards’ public relations staff circled every name on the list except Jan Vesely and Maurice Evans without noticing the mistake and [Flip] Saunders signed off on a sheet that had only 12 active players instead of the possible 13.It's hard to believe that this could happen to a professional team, but yes, it did. As for the actual game, the Wizards allowed 65 first-half points and didn't play any defense until the second half. They did outscore the Bucks 26-13 in the third quarter, but they were again outplayed in the final frame and lost 102-81.
“It’s my fault,” Saunders said. “The league sends us the list and what we do is circle the guys that are active and for some reason on our list, Roger wasn’t on it and I didn’t notice it. So, I take responsibility for that. I guess the only fortunate thing is, it wasn’t a situation that cost us down the stretch.”
The situation was exacerbated when Mason went to the scorers’ table and was allowed to check in for Jordan Crawford, who had just picked up his second foul with 3 minutes 27 seconds left in the first period. Saunders said before the game that he had planned to give the veteran Mason more playing time after he received just eight minutes in the first two games. “I thought he would’ve given us some help,” Saunders said.
Mason quickly hit a turnaround jumper but Rashard Lewis (14 points) was credited with the basket, which brought the Wizards within 24-18. After a timeout, Mason was set to reenter the game when referee Danny Crawford informed him that he should not have been allowed to play.
So, to recap, the Wizards have not only lost all three of their games, but they have yet to produce a drama-free performance either. After game one, Andray Blatche complained about wanting the ball in the paint more. During game two, John Wall yelled at Flip Saunders to take an unspecified Wizards player out of the game. And now Wizards fans will one day have the opportunity to tell their grandchildren about experiencing the Mason fiasco.
By the way, it's sort of amusing to think that Mason's presence could have somehow changed the course of the game for the Wizards, which Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier were discussing at one point. Then again, I'll give Buck and Phil a pass, mostly because they're one of the few reasons to tune in and watch. If the Wizards had horrible, or even mediocre, announcers, I don't think I could stomach many of their games.
So let's add this bizarre incident to a long list of perplexing moments involving the Wizards. Over at Bullets Forever, Sean Fagan does a terrific job accessing the damage:
I don't want to sugarcoat this at all. These type of boneheaded mistakes make the organization look like a minor league franchise. We can't spell the names on our jerseys right, we misdiagnose injuries, and now we can't even register our players. This has gone beyond a simple "oops" and well into the realm of incompetency. The Wizards PR department can fall on the sword all they want, this is still a failure on the part of Flip.I'm generally not a fan of using "we" when referring to teams I root for, but in this case I don't really have a problem with it. Why? Because mistakes like this are also embarrassing for fans. It's one thing to discuss why the Wizards are bad on the court, or why John Wall isn't playing that well, or why Blatche isn't that good. But these completely avoidable off-the-court mistakes? They have to stop.