By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Evan Fournier was arguably the most notable absence of France in the Olympic Games. The Orlando Magic player gave an interview to French L’Equipe “breaking” his silence regarding his exclusion from his national team’s roster and expressing an obvious resentment on the whole matter.
“I hated not being in the Olympic Games,” he said. “I had suspected that I won’t make the cut a week before I was informed about it. I was reading interviews where only Rudy (Gobert) was mentioned among the players who didn’t play in the OQT but would go to Rio. In the end, I received a voicemail by Vincent Collet that briefly explained the reasons I was left out.”
“I hated that I had to go back to Orlando so early”, Fournier added. “I watched all the games of the Olympic tournament. I didn’t step forward to say something awkward during the tournament of course. I know the guys and I needed to be quiet during the tournament. I didn’t want to intervene and say something careless. The guys needed to do the job in the tournament and if I said something, it wouldn’t be of any help.”
The 23-year old player also discussed the various ways in which the whole ordeal affected him. “I could claim more from my new contract. I asked my agent to sort things quickly so I would not risk my participation in the Olympics. I thought I deserved a place in the team. The shirt of ‘Les Bleus’ is everything for me. Since I was fifteen years old, I never missed a tournament when I was selected. Except the year I got drafted (2012).”
“I think there was a lack of respect from the Federation’s side in relation to all these,” he emphasized.
Lack of proper communication between him and Federation was also something that frustrated Fournier. “The only time I’ve heard from the Federation this year was during a visit from Patrick Beesley (French NT technical director) in Orlando where he told me the dates of the qualifying tournament and Olympics. He didn’t tell me ‘If you do not come in Manila, then you do not come in Rio’. The second time was via an sms by Vincent Collet. It was our only contact outside competitions in the last three years. He was asking me for tickets to a game for his friends. I never closed the door to the French national team but these events sent me a clear message. That I’m not in the project. It’s that simple and it hurts.”