If you’re wondering what the overall reaction to the recent Howard Lederer interview by PokerNews.com was it can be summed-up pretty much in one word: Disdain. Numerous people in the poker world took to social media, there, blogs, podcasts, and any other media outlet they could find to disown, refute, chastise, or just plain ridicule Howard Lederer. The question I have is simple; is all of the hate from the interview deserved?
Obviously, Howard Lederer should be ostracized from the poker community for his role with Full Tilt Poker. Whether he was implicitly responsible for the problems or just a blind overseer of the company’s mismanagement is really a moot point at this time; the fact of the matter is, Howard Lederer messed up royally, and will have to deal with his newfound infamy in the poker world.
But when it comes to the interview itself I’m not really sure where all of the animosity is coming from. Did people actually expect Lederer to take blame, and present evidence that would paint himself or even Ray Bitar in a negative light? The interview was meant to tell Howard’s side of the story (and tell it in the best possible light); I’m sure everyone at PokerNews and anyone else with even a modest amount of foresight in the poker world knew Howard didn’t approach the news outlet to “come clean”.
Now the interesting reactions were the people (people who would know anyway) who claimed he was lying about certain things. This could be damning if there is some kind of evidence that he was willfully lying, and even if clear-cut evidence cannot be produced, a preponderance of circumstantial evidence would be a lifetime indictment from the poker community.
What doesn’t make much sense to me are the people laughing or mad that Lederer danced around certain questions, or fell victim to memory loss when asked about certain areas of the company or specific events. Yes these things were funny (as the Howard Lederer “I Don’t Know” mashup shows) but this was expected the minute the interview was announced. To be honest, I’m surprised there weren’t MORE instances of “I Don’t recalls”.
Another area where I think criticism has been over the top was with Matthew Parvis, who conducted the interview for PokerNews. Parvis was really in a no-win situation, considering Lederer is never going to give him the smoking-gun the poker world wants to hear, and the more Parvis were to push for answers the more Lederer would likely shut-down.
The interview was clearly a preemptive strike by Lederer to get his version of events out before others start talking (let’s not forget Ray Bitar will be in court very soon). So in that regards, mission accomplished. However, the damage done to Lederer’s reputation looks to be permanent based on the community’s reaction –and rightly so in my mind.
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