It has been a week since Dale Ervine lashed out at Splash Coach George Fernandez, accusing him of being a poor communicator who let his ego and jealousy get in the way of rational thinking.
Ervine, the Splash's all-time scoring leader, made his comments the day he was traded to Arizona for Paul Agyeman. He departed, he said, never knowing why he had fallen into disfavor.
Fernandez has kept quiet about the accusations. However, after the Splash's 11-4 victory Saturday over Houston, Fernandez was pressed for an explanation: Did he make it clear to Ervine why he was being traded?
"I'm the coach--of course," Fernandez said. "It would be kind of stupid to walk in one day and just say, 'You're going to be traded.' "
One account conflicts with the other. But, likable as Ervine was to his teammates, some think his criticism wasn't completely accurate.
Rod Castro, now working on his law degree, is a Splash forward. He won two championships alongside Fernandez in San Diego.
"I definitely disagree that George has an ego or would let it get in the way of making a decision," Castro said. "[But] George is uncomfortable expressing his views to an individual player. He lets the player do his thing and if he is successful, he's happy; if he doesn't produce, he won't play him and won't necessarily tell him. There are other coaches who coach that way too, like Ron Newman, who coached George in San Diego [and now coaches in Arizona].
"I think it's unfair to characterize George in that way; it mischaracterizes his personality."
Castro also said he knows some of his teammates "are very happy with the trade, some are indifferent."
The Splash was 6-3 with Ervine and are 4-5 without him. However, the team has won three of its last four, despite a 10-2 loss to Sacramento that was its third game in four nights.
No one in the locker room ever doubted Ervine's desire to play for a championship team; he made that desire well-known. But he had always been a star on teams that didn't win, and around the league, he developed a reputation as a fine player, but one whose style wasn't conducive to winning titles.
Ervine, who scored two goals and had an assist in a losing debut with the Sandsharks, said Tuesday he has never been a selfish player.
Perhaps it was the reputation that finally wedged itself between Ervine, who has never won an indoor championship, and Fernandez, who has won four.
Fernandez and Tim Orchard, player personnel director, are excited about Agyeman, who should play with the team this weekend.
"We tried to trade Paul Wright for him [before the season] before we traded for [all-star defender Sean] Bowers," Orchard said.
Agyeman had 32 goals and 21 assists for Arizona last year and was the Sandshark MVP. His 32 goals came on only 96 shots, and he made the all-rookie team.
Said Orchard: "We have Bernie Lilavois and Paul Agyeman, combined with Bowers, which by the end of the year gives us the ability to be better than we were at that time last year. . . . We have Bernie the Bolt, who uses speed and quickness, Agyeman, who is a proven goal-scorer, and Rod Castro and Jose Vasquez [who] are traditional post-up forwards; I think [Fernandez] will have the option of using different formations now and we won't be as predictable."
Lilavois never played in the game against his former teammates, the San Jose Grizzlies, but that didn't keep him from getting in a few choice words--and being ejected in the Splash's 7-6 victory two weeks ago.
Lilavois couldn't dress for the game as a condition of his trade to the Splash, but he yelled at referee Herb Silva from the Splash bench and was directed to leave the field. He climbed out of the bench area and watched the rest of the game from the San Jose Arena stands.
Although the inaugural CISL All-Star game was made available to regional Prime Sports affiliates, the Southern California market did not get the tape-delayed telecast the following day when it was offered by Prime Network. Prime Sports West program director Monique Stokes said it was offered too late, and the broadcast window provided by the league, from Aug. 16-26, was full.
Commissioner Ron Weinstein called Prime Sports and wanted to know why the game wasn't shown here, where the Splash led the league in attendance and had three players in the game.
The broadcast window was too short, he was told. So Weinstein removed the window. It will be broadcast Sept. 6 at 10:30 p.m.
Prime Sports will also air "Kickin' Around the CISL," a weekly highlight show, beginning Sept. 1; it will usually air Fridays at 10:30 a.m.
Up next: The Splash play the second of six consecutive home games Friday when it plays Monterrey (7:35 p.m.) for the first time this season. It plays San Jose on Sunday (7:05 p.m.), and then Arizona--and Ervine--on Thursday.
Expansion talk: Orlando is the front-runner for one of three possible expansion teams for 1996, Weinstein said. Expansion was discussed by the league's board of governors at the all-star game this month. The three other cities with the best chance are Philadelphia, New York and Nashville, Tenn.
"The smartest move for the league at this stage of the game is to solidify the 15 franchises we already have and make sure they're fiscally sound and have strategic marketing plans in place," Weinstein said. "The most important thing going into Year 4 is to solidify a national television package, our national sponsorship, and to devote our attention to the 15 franchises in place with minimal expansion. I don't think anybody wants teams that aren't going to carry their own weight."