What would possess Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (above, left) to revoke the locker room credentials of ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Tim McMahon? According to Cuban, the move has little to do with either writer’s work, but it’s all about winning the war against automation. From the AP :

The Associated Press, in a partnership with Automated Insights, produces automated stories on minor league baseball but does not use the technology for most of its sports coverage. The AP has at least one reporter at all games in the four major professional sports and most major college football and basketball games.

“Maybe I will be wrong but I see a direct path from the trends in coverage of games we are seeing over the last couple years to the automation of reporting on games and the curation of related content,” Cuban wrote in an email to the AP. “This isn’t a knock on wire services or their reporters. They are valued and valuable in sports coverage.”

Cuban said he responded after learning that ESPN was relying on wire services for game coverage on 19 NBA teams. Barry Bedlan, AP’s sports product manager, said ESPN “has relied on us for years.”

Though I’m sure the remaining working (human) journalists appreciate Cuban’s sentiments, it’s a rather curious strategy, particularly when ESPN’s actually assigns writers to shadow the Mavs. If Cuban’s beef is with the AP, it’s doubly curious he’d give said wire service the scoop on his motives.