Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hey, I Just Call'em Like I See'em

It is easy to criticize David Stern as he attempts to make the NBA more marketable and therefore more profitable (as shown by the critique of the Commissioner in the post below). Howeever, I have to give credit where credit is due, and he deserves credit for banning the fan who directed a racial slur at Dikembe Mutombo from attending NBA games for the season. If you have ever been to an NBA game, you know that fans will say things in order to annoy team members --- including howl racial slurs at ethnic players. Fans have to understand that the purchase of their game ticket does not give them the right to act illegally, and using racist rhetoric is indeed illegal. It is about time that Stern holds the fans accountable for their actions.

9 comments:

Brother Afrocan said...

I second that vote of confidence brother spotless. David Stern is first and foremost a business man. He wants a more profitable operation which means more money for the players, way more money for the owners and a couple more crumbs for him (I think he gets paid $8-10 million a year, around a third of the coin KG or Shaq pull-in) . It is a fact that Stern is the BEST pro sports commissioner, furthermore NBA players earn the highest average salary in pro sports and not just by coincidence or because an NBA team has the smallest roster, some of it is due to David Stern's smart moves.

Given his primary motivation, I would be not be so quick to criticize his actions, even his opinion on players carrying firearms. In businesses that involve big dollars, employers will often include rules and restrictions that may encroach individual rights and freedoms as protected by the constitution. However those extra restrictions are often all in the name of making the product more marketable. Many high powered employment contracts include propriety clauses that allow termination of employment based on anything that comes out that may embarrass the employer even if it is legal such as having an affair, going to a strip club etc. Likewise Tom Cruise was dropped like a Drew Bledsoe pass by Paramount when he started acting all crazy.
My overall point is, its all about the benjamins and if news stories about players carrying guns hurts business then you have to put a stop to it. Ofcourse a line should be drawn at some point, if players playing in blackface increases revenue, that does not mean it should be done.

Brother Lightness said...

Re: the last line of Afrocan's response.

Speak for yourself! I'm all for basketball playin' minstrels.

Brother Spotless said...

On the firearms comment by Brother Afrocan: I am going to have to disagree. I understand the point about maximizing profits. When players are in NBA arenas and on NBA-owned grounds, Stern can rightfully control the situation. So, if he says you have to dress a certain way while on NBA-owned property, then that's the way it has to be. However, the firearms situations that have occured are not in NBA arenas. They are in dance clubs and strip clubs. Whatever your feelings are about NBA players at stip clubs, the NBA Commissioner doesn't have a gun control clause written in to the Constitution. While I do believe that gun control is needed across the board on America, it's not up to David Stern to decide what a player does or what he carries off the court/grounds. He can severely punish players who are convicted (or even accused) of gun crimes, but he legally cannot force them to relinquish their firearms.

Brother Afrocan said...

spotless I am not saying Stern has the ability to to restrict players from carrying firearms. Right now he is just expressing his opinion. On the next collective bargaining agreement he may push for that position- I doubt he would win because the players may demand too much in return. Currently most of the clauses in the NBA CBA restrict players on the kind of activity they can carry out while on NBA premises and includes punishments for committing crimes- can it be extended to include other things like guns or strip clubs? yes it can, it would be a tough negotiation but if ratified would stand as a rule. What I am pointing out is that its not uncommon for employment contracts to include clauses that curtail legal freedoms. And I truly believe Stern has the NBA and the players best interest at heart with his policies.

Brother Spotless said...

No, Stern has profitability at heart. But that's less releavant, because caring for his players is not part of the job desciption. And Afrocan, you are correct in stating that there are often clauses in contracts that infringe on legal freedoms. I am arguing that Stern should leave this issue alone. He may think he's very powerful, but going to bat against the NRA is not the same as negotiating a contract sqabble between the Knicks and Larry Brown. The NRA would almost certainly turn this into a legal freedoms issue, and thus turn what was a sports section story into a front page story. State and Federal Supreme Courts would come into play, and that's a membership that Stern (I'm guessing) does not want to stand in front of.

Stern will more than likely push for stronger gun deterrances in the next CBA, which I am all for. However, if Congress lacks the testicular fortitude (that's becoming my go-to term) to beat the NRA, I'm not sure Stern has it either. And besides, I am not sure the NBA is the right entity to successfully battle the NRA.

Brother Afrocan said...
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Brother Afrocan said...
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Brother Afrocan said...

As is often the case with Stern, he ends up getting his way. Depending on how many player related gun incidences are reported, I would not be surprised if Stern pushed for a total ban on firearms in the next CBA and wins. All he has to do is offer the players an extra 0.5% of the overall league revenue, I think right now players are currently entitled to 55% of league revenues but I may be wrong. That extra 0.5% would probably mean extra 100k to many players pay checks I am guessing that would be enough to get a majority vote approving the inclusion of the clause. If not I am sure Stern can cleverly come up with some other concession to the get his clause to pass. As concerns the Supreme court- I think the Maurice Clarett case set a precedent that CBA will trump the constitution anytime as long as the CBA terms are well defined and willingly agreed to by the parties involved. And to brother lightness- I am sure Shawn Bradley in blackface would not help his current status as the official slam dunk crash test dummy. I would not want to be him with vince coming down the lane powered by mad hops and racial indignance.

Brother Spotless said...

Maurice Clarrett didn't have the NRA in his corner. Afrocan, you make a good point about Stern getting his way, but this would be uncharted waters for any league executive.

The Clarrett case didn't go to the Supreme Court for a number of reasons, one being that a league has the right to create rules for its players while on league-owned property; the proposed "gun rule" would have to be an enforcement of the rule outside of league-owned property, since there are already rules about guns in or around arenas. Also, Clarrett didn't have the national support that comes with a NRA-backed agenda. The NRA is one of the most organized national lobbying interest groups the U.S. has. I am not saying that Stern is guaranteed to lose; I am saying that this battle would be unlike any other he's had, because of the Supreme Court and (probable) Congressional imput.

Also, with all of these hands in the cookie jar, the decision would ultamitely fall in the hands of someone other than Stern; and that hasn't happened in a while.