After 33 years, Washington Wizards game analyst and legend Phil Chenier is set to be replaced as CSN Mid-Atlantic attempts to find a “new voice.”
In a shocking development, Washington Wizards game analyst Phil Chenier will not return next season as CSN Mid-Atlantic elects not to renew Chenier’s expiring contract after 33 years. Furthermore, the decision ceases the ever-loving broadcast duo of Steve Buckhantz and Chenier after 22 prosperous years.
Heavily influenced by Monumental Sports & Entertainment, CSN Mid-Atlantic executives somehow determined that the network must move forward with a brand-new voice to operate alongside with Buckhantz.
Washington Wizards fans took action upon hearing the shocking news by organizing a petition to CSN Mid-Atlantic (show your support) to renew Phil Chenier’s broadcasting contract for the Washington Wizards.
As of Monday, the petition has over 600 signatures and counting after scaling over 200 signatures within the first few hours, including tweets from HoopsHype and Todd Dybas from The Washington Times.
Upon signing the petition, each supporter has the chance to comment their reason for signing the petition.
Many faithful fans weighed in and here is what some had to say:
"“I’ve been a fan of this team for 15 years, ever since I was a child. Phil and Steve have been the voices for that entire span. Phil IS the voice of the Wizards. No we don’t want something fresh. We want someone who knows what this team has been through.” – Daniel Frick"
"“I object because he’s the best. Love Phil. This is disgraceful. He’s been through the ups and downs with the Wiz, like me. And now you’re dumping him when it’s a hot product. Couldn’t be more disappointed, and hope you’ll reconsider. I feel that, like me, he is a fan of the Wizards, come rain or shine.” – Matt Dunn"
"“Phil is a singular voice. His analysis is balanced and his basketball insight is always spot on. His sense of humor and chemistry with Buck makes them one of the sharpest and most listenable announcing teams in the NBA. This decision is an affront the loyal Wizards fanbase.” – Zach Biondo"
Like the numerous fans, Buckhantz will deeply miss the presence of Chenier, even if he doesn’t voice it to the public.
According to The Washington Post’s D.C. Sports Bog, Buckhantz has known about Chenier’s departure months ago. Here are Buckhantz’s thoughts on Chenier’s departure as Wizards game analyst:
"I’m sad I’m going to lose my partner of 20 years, and I’m sad for him, because he’s an icon and has 33 years of doing these games,” Buckhantz said in a phone conversation. “But I’m glad he’ll continue to be a part of the broadcast and a part of Wizards basketball, because he not only deserves to be, but we count on him for his knowledge of this team."
Phil Chenier honored during Wizards game
Due to CSN Mid-Atlantic and Monumental Sports & Entertainment waiting until last week to announce Chenier’s departure, the franchise had just one home game remaining before the Wizards regular season schedule before postseason play to acknowledge Chenier.
So, in the second quarter of the Wizards regular season home finale against the Miami Heat, the Wizards organization and the 20,365 fans at Verizon Center paid tribute to Chenier with a roaring standing ovation.
Furthermore, the entire Wizards team took the Wizards legend out for dinner to express their gratitude:
Same place, new role
If there is any good news to come out of this bizarre situation, it’s that Chenier will stay with CSN Mid-Atlantic as a studio analyst, delivering his commentary before and after Wizards games, appear on-air with the Monumental Sports & Entertainment. Chenier will also work as an alumni ambassador and an envoy for the Wizards’ alumni operation, per The Washington Post.
Regardless of Chenier’s new role with the network(s), it will never replace the voice that many Wizards fans grew accustomed to hearing during each Wizards game.
Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s Dan Shanoff took a stab at comforting and convincing Wizards fans by expressing his enthusiasm for Chenier’s upcoming role with the network.
To put it nicely, Shanoff is on an island when it comes to the thoughts of Chenier’s upcoming projects. Maybe Shanoff could make a better judgment when he’s in a similar situation by allowing at least one day to pass before trying to promote Chenier’s new work.
To force the former Washington Bullets legend out of the phone booth after 33 years because the desire for a new voice is outlandish and disrespectful. Especially when Chenier wants to remain as the Wizards game analyst alongside close friend Steve Buckhantz.
To show your support, sign the petition for CSN Mid-Atlantic to renew Chenier’s contract to remain alongside Buckhantz as the voice of the Washington Wizards.