For a second consecutive Saturday, ABC’s Saturday prime time NBA game was a pre-rigged dud. The LA Clippers blew out the supposedly star-studded Cavaliers, 108-78, as chants of “We want LeBron” echoed through the arena. The three super-stars that make Cleveland an NBA powerhouse, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, were all kept out of the game, not because they were injured, but because Cleveland coach Ty Lue had decided to rest his “Big 3” in the first of back-to-back games. Sure enough, all three played against the Lakers the next day.
It has become standard practice in the NBA for play-off bound teams to rest stars for “strategic purposes,” meaning that in a league where more than half the teams make the play-offs and the regular season is little more than an exhibition for most of them, it makes no sense to blow out the stars until a championship is on the line. The NBA, in short, has no integrity. (Neither does the National Hockey League, for the same reason.) The previous Saturday, the San Antonio Spurs blew out the Warriors, 107-85, as Golden State fielded a JV team, with Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson all on the bench. Yet NBA’s new nine-year, $24 billion media rights deal with ABC, Disney and Turner Broadcasting included Saturday Primetime along with the TNT Thursday Night NBA game and ESPN’s Wednesday and Friday night broadcasts, to showcase the best of the NBA. (Most of the NBA teams never make it to the Saturday ABC game.)
Shouldn’t that kind of money guarantee that the teams put their best players out on the court? NBA fans also typically shell out three figures for tickets. Doesn’t the league pull what is in essence a bait and switch by allowing a game to be treated as a virtual forfeit? Continue reading
When you think about it, the champion in this fight would almost have to be repulsive for a victory to mean anything.
The other shoe dropped, and however it may be intended, it’s an ethical shoe. Donald Sterling now says that he’ll refuse to pay the 2.5 million dollar fine levied on him by NBA Commissioner Silver and his fellow owners for what he said in his own bedroom.
Good. I was waiting for this, and hoping that would be his course of action. Ironically, a good, compliant, progressive billionaire, and one who was not, unlike Sterling, a repulsive asshole, who was nationally embarrassed as Sterling has been, would crawl quietly into a hole, periodically send out big checks and mea culpas to Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the NAACP, and in the process, take big, bloody chunks out of our freedom to think and speak freely, and our personal privacy. Sterling is doing the right thing, although it is going to cause him to be even more vilified by the media and even more assailed as the personification of racism than he has been already—and that has already been disproportionate to his “crime.”
Fighting is also going to be expensive. Never mind. It is revolting to write it, or even think it, but he is fighting for all of us. Continue reading
Ethics Alarms commenter Chris Marschner again scores a Comment of the Day regarding the subtext of my recent post about Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, whose stunning abuse of government power to punish a citizen’s free speech was ignored while destroying NBA team owner Donald Sterling, because he privately articulated offensive views to a vengeful girlfriend, became a media obsession and a national rallying point.
Before I get to Chris’s excellent comment, however, I should bring us up to date on the Donald Sterling Ethics Train Wreck, which has proceeded as I feared it would: Continue reading