The Norman Transcript

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June 8, 2014

Team USA and USA’s best player still not on same page

(Continued)

NORMAN —

However, if she did, or if she could, “The bottom line is, my door is always open,” Isham said.

Isham said that Friday, the same day I tried to reach Ricketts, though she didn’t return a call or a text.

Nothing wrong with that, of course, she’s busy and very likely wants to forget the whole episode. Still, it’s a small diamond tragedy that’s continuing to play out.

It’s a big summer for USA Softball. A world champion will be crowned in The Netherlands come August. Seems like the best player maybe on the planet should be a part of it.

About that colossal misunderstanding …

If Isham said it once to me Friday, he said it a million times, the only thing — THE ONLY THING — the ASA and USA Softball told Ricketts last summer she could not do was play in the World Cup in front of ESPN’s cameras and then bolt for NPF before the summer was done.

“All we wanted her to do,” Isham said, “was play through all of our summer events.”

Yet, somehow, that’s not the way Ricketts saw it and I absolutely believed her then and haven’t changed my mind since. The problem? I believe Isham, too.

Among the other things Isham said?

He said it’s probably for the best Ricketts didn’t go for the long-term ASA contract because the cost to the ASA, in retrospect, might simply have been too much. 

“Because of the amount we were going to pay her,” he said.

He said even though she’s under contract to NPF, that doesn’t bar her from playing for the national team as far as USA Softball’s concerned, though it probably does as far as NPF is concerned.

Mostly, though, he, too, lamented the way everything went down last summer.

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