NBA Commissioner David Stern took considerable exception to CBS Sports Network host Jim Rome asking if “the fix was in” during the recent draft lottery that resulted in the New Orleans Hornets winning the top pick. When Stern replied, “have you stopped beating your wife yet?”, Rome claimed he was “shocked” at the implication a journalist with his impeccable track record would’ve asked a dumb question merely for the sake of provocation. From the Albany Times-Union’s Pete Dougherty :
“When I asked that question, I did not in any way expect that response. To be honest, I thought it was a softball question. It would have been an easy opportunity for him to address something that’s out there and that he would just summarily dismiss it out of hand. I had no idea he would get that upset. I was shocked by it.”
Stern’s initial response was, “I have two answers for that. I’ll give you the easy one: No, and a statement: Shame on you for asking.”
Rome, whose show airs locally on WOFX (980 AM), tried to defend why he needed to ask the question, but the commissioner wasn’t backing down. Stern then asked Rome, “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”
“A lot of people don’t know that phrase, so they thought it was extremely out of line,” said Rome, who is married with two sons. “I understood it, I knew where he was going with it.
“I thought it was inappropriate because, what it is, it’s a rhetorical device to insinuate I asked him a loaded question. I don’t think my question to him was loaded. I thought it was a very simple and very direct question.
“I thought the blog Deadspin hit it perfectly. Had I asked the question, ‘When did you start fixing the draft lottery?’ that would have been a more appropriate response. It would have been a loaded question, but I don’t think my question was loaded.”