Shamsid-Deen back on Fever, denies incident
KENNEWICK, Wash. - The strange saga of Fever defensive back Muhammad Shamsid-Deen has taken another turn, and this time it's back in the good graces of the team.
Last season, he was released by then-coach Dan Whitsett right before a game with Rapid City. Whitsett accused Shamsid-Deen of giving the team's defensive game-plan to some Rapid City players prior to the game.
Since then, Whitsett has resigned as head coach. The team's new coach, Tony Wells, decided to bring back Shamsid-Deen, but not before conducting his own investigation. "I talked to a lot of people, and I'm one-hundred percent sure he didn't do what they say he did," said Wells.
As far as the night in question, Shamsid-Deen claims he was simply hanging out with the Rapid City players, one of which was his fraternity brother at Eastern Washington. He denies giving them inside information.
"We were in the same hotel," Shamsid-Deen explained. "He was a fraternity brother. If I get in trouble for talking to a frat brother, then that's okay," he said sarcastically. "There were no plays given, no play book, nothing. Dan Whitsett and I have issues, but that conversation is for some other day and time."
Former Coach Dan Whitsett weighed in on the matter, restating that he had reason to release Shamsid-Deen last spring. In an e-mail to KNDU, Whitsett writes:
"By the time I got to the Toyota Center the day of the Rapid City game, team members had met with team captain's and a unanimous decision was made that Shamsid-Deen needed to be released from the organization. I met with team captains, coaches and management and collected all the details. Everyone was in agreement that he should be released immediately."
"There was never a playbook that was exchanged, that part was created by the media I believe. The accusations were that he met with offensive players of the Rapid City team and discussed our defensive strategies that were prepared for that game. He never discussed it with coach Majic (Rapid City head coach), only wanted to talk to him about joining their team. Coach Majic told him he couldn't talk to him about that until he was officially released."
"I have nothing but respect for new Fever Head Coach Tony Wells. It is his team now and he will make the best decisions for the Fever organization. I believe in people getting second chances and also understand the desperation that players go through while trying to climb the ladder of Indoor Football. I have no heart burn regarding the Fever or the Shamsid-Deen incident. A decision was made at the time based on information collected and I do not regret that decision, nor would I have changed the way it was handled. I wish the Fever, coach Wells, and Muhammed Shamsid-Deen the best of luck this season."
Shamsid-Deen wants the matter behind him. "I never wanted to leave the team. I feel I was forced out. I want to move forward and focus on winning a championship. I feel my fans this year have a lot to look forward to."
The defensive back was one of the top players in the secondary last season prior to his release. The Fever have a home exhibition game Sunday at 3:00 with Spokane. The AF2 season begins Sat., March 31 at Mahoning Valley.