(Even in the midst of riot-related turmoil, David Stern finds the time to let neighborhood kids check out his Suicide Girls subscription)
Shame the Commissioner can’t ban Stephen A. Smith for his unprovoked assaults on my eardrums. Color The Newark Star-Ledger’s Dave D’Alessandro less than impressed with David Stern.
When you’re NBA commissioner, and you are trying to wrap your mind around the greatest crisis of your tenure by wondering what to do about the goons who attend Detroit Pistons games, the first thing you should do is devise the biggest penalty imaginable for Indiana Pacers fans.
The Pistons, acting swiftly, immediately announced that they will have firearm giveaway nights for the rest of the season, because their fans have guaranteed their return to the NBA Finals.
But basketball isn’t the issue right now, because in his Giuliani moment, the commissioner decided that it ceased to matter by eliminating the best team in the East.If Stern is serious about enacting change, he has to come through on the second part of the agenda he expressed last night. Severely punishing three Pacers is one thing — never mind that they could have felt threatened, which is certainly the case — but getting the bigger house in order is a greater priority.
Toward that end, he laid out a very sketchy plan that may only create a larger divide between players and fans, and he knows it.
First he said, “We have to do everything we can to redefine the covenant between players and fans — and between fans and fans — and make sure we can play our game in a welcoming and peaceful setting.”
You heard him: It’s a covenant now. No word on whether they will mandate that a loyalty oath be signed before admission is granted.
Stern added, “We have to move equally quickly with respect to fan behavior. There is an element out there that thinks they can take certain liberties. That didn’t used to be the case. And we have to decide what the limit of that is. It may be that we may have to lose some fans, and that’s okay with me.”
See, he’s on your side. Not only will he protect you from the likes of Ron Artest, he will ensure that the idiot sitting next to you will behave. Try not to notice that the NBA is an overwrought, semicivilized kind of world to begin with, or that its product is often static, overlegislated and gimmick-laden.
Stern never figured out a way to fix those things, but for now, if he can stop fans from throwing chairs, we’ll call it a good start.