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Ryerson’s women’s basketball team share their views on the Raptors ring controversy
Former Toronto Raptors players, Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright and C.J. Miles, will not receive championship rings.
All three players were traded to the Memphis Grizzlies at the NBA trade deadline last season to acquire veteran-centre Marc Gasol.
Ryerson’s women’s basketball team shared their thoughts on former Raptors not receiving rings.
“It’s really unfortunate they don’t get rings,” said Rams forward Emma Fraser. “Especially starting out the season playing for the Raptors, being on the court, still winning those early games, and putting in all that work to make the starting five better.”
Masters student and Rams guard Hayley Robertson had a similar outlook.
“It’s disappointing and surprising that you wouldn’t give three players rings as a nod to their part,” she said. “You never know if they would have won that championship without them.”
The decision of who would be a ring recipient came from Raptors general manager Bobby Webster, along with input from the players.
“We obviously thought about it, but at the end of the day, it’s who was on the court June 13. That’s kind of how we decided it,” Webster told the Toronto Sun.
Rookie guard Sarai Bailey said this technicality shouldn’t take away from the former players’ contributions to the team’s success.
“Even though they weren’t on the team exactly when they won the championship, they did help carry the team to where they were going into the playoffs and finals,” Bailey said.
Rams forward Rachel Farwell said she sees both sides of the argument.
“It’s unfortunate they’re not getting that recognition, but it also makes sense as to why they wouldn’t,” Farwell added. .
Head coach Carly Clarke initially said she had mixed feelings on the topic but ultimately agreed with Webster’s decision.
“Those guys contributed to the process for sure, but in the end they weren’t on the playoff team,” she said. “I would say the players that were on the championship-winning team are the most deserving.”
Clarke said a comparable scenario could occur with the Rams where a player would not receive a ring if they start a season on a team, and they choose not to continue, or there’s a circumstance where they’re unable to continue.
But the players weren’t the only recipients of a ring. Raptors “superfan” Nav Bhatia was gifted an official championship ring.
While Ram team members agree that Bhatia is deserving of one, some players said the move contradicted Webster’s statement.
“It’s super hypocritical to give a superfan a ring and not some of the players who actually put in the work to earn that championship,” said Fraser.
Similarly, Bailey said it’s unfair rings were given to those who didn’t contribute on the court.
“That’s kind of crazy,” she said. “I know Bhatia has been a part of the Raptors for a long time, but he’s not a player.”
Though Bhatia may not be a player, Farwell said, there’s different types of influence one can have on a team.
“I think that can kind of speak to the impact that say a bench player can have,” she said. “I think the energy (Bhatia) brings to the Raptors is quite remarkable, honestly.”
Meanwhile, Coach Clarke saw the situation from an administrative perspective.
“There’s a lot of things behind the scenes that really contribute to a successful organization,” said Clarke. “Recognizing people that have been a part of that journey is important to building and sustaining a world-class program like the Raptors.”
But, not all Raptor fans see it that way, with some likely questioning the organization’s loyalty to its players.