My personal opinion: Regardless of the where the truth lies, Richard Garriot might be a great game designer but his media relation skills aren't that great.
Heheheh... absolutely. Even if you look at it through the "Crappy Internet Sensationalist Reporting" filter as Jonathan Blow dubbed it (which likely is to some extent true) he still comes over as a serious dick with this statement.
He is probably even telling the truth (though this is not something particular to game designers). Sturgeon's Law has it that "ninety percent of everything is crap", and Sturgeon's Law is so universally true, everywhere. I've rarely seen something where it doesn't apply, if ever.
So 90% of all designers are crap -- OK, but this applies to 90% of all musicians, painters, or physicians, too. 90% of all restaurants are ... maybe not absolute crap, but at least not places I'd want to go, either.
Truth has it that there's a lot of people living on this planet, and everybody has his own dreams, goals, and self-image, and everybody finally makes a career choice. But not everyone is necessarily talented in what he chooses to do. That's life.
However, telling such a thing (even if it is maybe the truth) just doesn't show great media relation or social interaction skills, especially in a situation like this.
Figuratively, and even giving him a strong benefit of doubt for out-of-context quotes, he said "Guys, give me a million dollars to make this game, You're going to be involved in designing it, your opinions are very valuable. You're awesome." and then follows up with "Thank for the money you losers, you all suck, I'm the best".
Even if the quotes have been somewhat torn out of context over at Gamasutra, they still basically say this, or at least can be very easily understood in such a way. Which truly isn't a great example of PR skill :-)