By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Ataman spoke to the Turkish newspaper “Hürriyet” about the fact that he didn’t give his hand to Obradovic in the recent game between Anadolu Efes and Fenerbahce. There’s a long-standing rivalry between the two men since the days that Ataman was the coach of Galatasaray, the arch-rival of Fenerbahce.
As Ataman said: “Every profession has non-written rules. I also have a personal friendship with Obradovic. I didn’t expect him to play with great aggression to reach 100 points in a game in which the averages were insignificant. It’s disrespectful to Anadolu Efes. I am one phone call away and if he calls me says “I made a mistake by following the fans, I am sorry”, then everything become normal. But if not, then I will not shake his hand”.
Ataman included in the whole debate the incident with Melih Mahmutoglu who was slapped by Obradovic. As he said: “The child who is exposed to this action is also the national team captain. His father reacted on Facebook. One day later, this kid’s agent called me and said: “Melih wants to leave Fenerbahçe. Will you take him to Efes?” And it’s obvious that I said to them,” No. Absolutely. But if he becomes a free agent, I can think of him as a regular player on the day he’s released. There is an incident here, but they are trying to cover it. What would happen if I did the same? I feel sorry for that. The situation in question does not change the fact that Obradovic is number one in Europe. But I think that the rules and regulations must be equal for everyone. Both the slap incidents are wrong (ed.note: Ataman also slapped his player, Gokturk Ural, when he was coaching Galatasaray). As a matter of fact, I paid the price of that mistake. I paid too much. A lot of guys in the press lynched me because of this. At the end of this, I received the heaviest penalty of history from the TBF; 75.000 TL. Obradovic “s incident is exactly like my case … It cannot be tolerated, but unfortunately, such things can happen… His action was seen on TV, in front the f public. But the federation and the sports public opinion was insensitive. So that means something becomes a problem in Turkey only when Ergin Ataman does it? Ultimately I am a coach who was raised by this country. Of course, our doors are always open to our guests, we respect them greatly. But our hospitality has a limit”.
There’s no reaction from Fenerbahce and Obradovic, but Mahmutoglu issued the following statement: “I did not speak about the incident because my coach’s comments about it completely reflected my feelings and my relationship with him. All kinds of feelings can occur in a game. What is important here is the bond of love between the players and our coach and getting together for our common cause which is Fenerbahçe‘s success. This matter, despite being opened by people with obvious intentions again, is over over for me. I am happy and proud to say this sentence each and every time, and I gladly repeat: I am the captain of Fenerbahçe Doğuş. As long as my team and club wants me to honor this duty and wear this jersey, I am going to do it. I believe the best answer to this person and his provocative words are going to be the new trophies which will be raised by my hands with the help of my teammates and my coaches. Mr. Ergin Ataman can easily see where I want to be and I am happy to be in this photo.”