Thursday , Jan , 24 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Is MTV David Stern’s Greatest Ally? Don’t Give Him a Free Pass to Destroy the Integrity of OUR Game.

Is MTV David Stern's Greatest Ally?  Don't Give Him a Free Pass to Destroy the Integrity of OUR Game.

Basketball is fun.  It’s fun to watch, fun to play, fun to talk about and fun to write about.  However, whenever there’s money to be made doing something, human nature finds a way to exploit the profit.  It takes away from the purity of the game.  At the same time, it allows more fans to enjoy more games.  For example, the NBA League Pass.  It was only created to increase revenue, but a fan can watch a whole bunch of games that he never would have had been able to watch.

So, there is a fine line between the purity of the sport and need to keep feeding the capitalistic pig.  A fat, happy pig means that the fans get more.  Sometimes, though, there is right and wrong.  There is a time to stand on one side of the line in order to preserve the sport.  If you will allow me to mix metaphors, it is a mistake to kill the goose that laid the golden egg (the golden egg being the integrity of the game of basketball).  When it appears to be corrupt, the goose is dying.

Is a week too far away to start talking about something?  Will you forget about it?  I hope not.

On a lighter note, here’s some interesting video:

TrueHooper Henry Abbott agrees with me that the lack of the promised transparency in regard to the Donaghy scandal is yet another black mark on the Stern (well, he didn’t say exactly that – but he’s upset about it).  It is particularly interesting to note that Tim Donaghy continues to have his sentencing hearing postponed.  There is no indication as to why.  Are the Feds still investigating?

While leaving Donaghy out of the mix – as there may be a valid reason as to why the investigation is silent – what is going on with the other referees?  The ones who are known to have violated the NBA’s “bright-line” no gambling rules?

The suspensions are one thing, and I really like this argument as to why Steve Nash is to blame.  This argument is not about the suspensions.  It is about consistency.  When are “bright line” rules subject to interpretation?  Why are some things done in the dark while others constitute little more than public executions (Stern stating, “There were two more games, if I remember correctly.”)?

“What is the problem?!” you’re screaming at me right now. 

The problem is that an interpretation of a rule that is not supposed to be interpretable denied the NBA fans of Battle Royale with both sides at full strength (don’t talk to mean about injuries, that’s part of the game – removing key players from a game is different).  At the same time, when it comes to Stern attempting to solidify his legacy in the face of an enormous betting scandal that threatens to mar his place in history, he decides to interpret a rule that he once told us was a “no tolerance” rule.

Hold Stern and Stu accountable.  They are hoping that our collective MTV-induced short attention spans let them sweep this under the rug.  If you care about the integrity of basketball, don’t let the steward of the game shirk his responsibilities.