Galatasaray coach faces pressure for slapping his player
Tolga Yenigün ISTANBUL
AA PhotoGalatasaray Liv Hospital coach Ergin Ataman is under fire for slapping a young player in the dressing room during last weekend’s Turkish Basketball League (TBL) game in Eskişehir.
The reports that Ataman, who was furious at his team’s performance against cellar-dweller NSK Eskisehir Basket on Feb. 8, physically abused 19-year-old Göktürk Ural during halftime were confirmed by the coach.
Galatasaray lost the game 66-61, being handed its eighth loss of the season as of Week 18.
Ataman reportedly accused Göktürk at halftime of not doing enough on the court, before slapping him twice. Göktürk, who has played only three minutes per game in the TBL this season, was also suspended from the squad by Ataman.
“Yes I slapped him,” Ataman told Hürriyet. “But it was a light slap for warning. I can insult my players in the dressing room, and I can slap them, it is a private place for me like my bedroom and what happens in the dressing room should stay in the dressing room.”
Göktürk Ural is expected to file a complaint against coach Ataman with the Turkish Basketball Federation (TBF).
“He can complain to wherever he likes,” said Ataman. “The problem here is leaking what happened in the dressing room. This should not happen, it cannot happen.”
Ataman claimed the player managers are the reason why young players are involved in such “irresponsible behavior.”
It was not the first time basketball players have witnessed physical interventions from their coaches.
In his first Euroleague game at the helm last season, Anadolu Efes coach Dusan Ivkovic kicked guard Doğuş Balbay during a time-out in a match against Unics Kazan for losing his opponent in the previous play.
Also last season, Fenerbahçe Ülker coach Zeljko Obradovic roughly grabbed Nemanja Bjelica by the arm and forced him out of the court and into the dressing room after the Serbian player told the experienced coach to “keep quiet.”