Back when Magic Johnson was still president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers, he joked about a run-in with Paul George, one of the team’s longstanding rumored targets, during an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
Because of his official position with the Lakers, Johnson and the team were warned by the NBA about tampering. General manager Rob Pelinka was later found to have have had impermissible contact with George’s agent, resulting in a $500,000 fine for the Lakers.
Six months later, Johnson earned the Lakers a $50,000 fine for his praise of Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo. Johnson’s rocky tenure with the Lakers came to an abrupt end when he announced his resignation last May.
All the while he’s maintained his standing as a part-owner of the Dodgers. Because of that, Johnson passed on discussing the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal — citing the prior interview that played a part in the Lakers being fined — during his latest visit with Jimmy Kimmel.
Upon MLB announcing their punishment and releasing a nine-page report that detailed findings from an investigation into the Astros, they reportedly instructed the Dodgers to not speak about the matter or 2017 World Series.
The team issued a statement explaining they would comply with that, though president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, manager Dave Roberts and several players answered questions about the Astros at Dodgers FanFest over the weekend.
“Obviously, like everyone here, I’ve read the report and for the last three-plus years, heard the rumors and accusations,” Friedman said. “To see it a little more detailed than some of the things we’d heard, was helpful. But obviously just add it to the frustration and disappointment.
“It’s a difficult thing to accurately articulate and part of it is there’s nothing we can do about it. Whenever I find myself kind of thinking back to that, the number of disappointed people — our fans, players, staff — there’s just nothing we can do about it.
“The Commissioner’s office came out with their report and punishment, which they’re trying to be aggressive to serve as a deterrent for that going forward. They were put in a tough spot and I think handled it well. But from our standpoint, all our mental energy is focused on the 2020 season, not 2017.”
Justin Turner questioned whether the Astros could be considered true champions, but made it clear he did not support the Dodgers retroactively being awarded a title.
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