As the Ben Simmons saga continues to hover over the Sixers, one of the city’s most beloved athletes weighed in on Thursday.
Jason Kelce knows exactly how the situation got to this point: A lack of accountability.
“You write your own narrative,” Kelce said. “What’s going on, I don’t want to crush any other players, but what’s going on with the 76ers, Ben Simmons, stuff like that. All that is because of a lack of accountability, a lack of owning up to mistakes and a lack of correcting things.
“If all that got corrected, you fix the free throws, if you’re getting better as a player, none of this is happening. Everybody can b— and complain about how tough this city is to play in. Just play better, man. This city will love you.”
Kelce, 33, was asked on Thursday about what it takes to not just play in the City of Philadelphia but also to become beloved here like Zach Ertz and himself. The answer was pretty simple. Be accountable, get better, try harder.
“I really don’t think this is a hard place to play, to be honest with you,” Kelce said.
Kelce said accountability is necessary to earn trust from your teammates and your coaches, first and foremost, but that accountability also matters to fans. They want to see that you care enough to correct mistakes and to get better.
“I think that’s how you control everything,” Kelce said. “You think about it like, ‘If I do this better, if I go out there and ball, if I go out there and play really good, nobody’s going to have any choice but to love me and appreciate me as a player.’”
When asked about irrational criticism, Kelce said that stuff doesn’t matter as much as the criticism that rings true. That stuff, he said, stings more.
“Usually the stuff where it tears apart organizations and players mentally is because it is true and you can’t wrestle with the fact that it’s true or how to correct it,” he said. “So you lash out and you blame other people.”
The saga between Simmons and the Sixers is ongoing after Simmons was tossed out of practice earlier this week and suspended for the season opener. In the last few months, Simmons has become Public Enemy No. 1 among Philadelphia sports fans.
“I don’t take anything personally,” Kelce said. “I don’t have any idea the particulars of that situation. It’s a travesty anyway you put it. These guys were all brought in here, a lot of talent and it hasn’t worked out for them for whatever reason. It’s a pretty good example of how to not handle the Philly media at the very least.”
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