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kriD
11-06-2006, 01:15 AM
Stephen A. Smith | Not to whine, but Stern must wise up

By Stephen A. Smith
Inquirer Columnist

We learned a long time ago that NBA commissioner David Stern can essentially do whatever he wants to do.

Whether it's suspending players for merely stepping on the court, enforcing his own fashion tips, advising against membership in the National Rifle Association, or simply determining the kind of basketball that's bounced, there's a reason this little man is considered the czar over guys twice his size.

But just because you have the power to do whatever you want, it doesn't make what you do right (see: the NBA's new post-whistle no-whining rule), no matter what's said by the plethora of pundits gleefully intoning "inmates" and "asylum" whenever the subject is this generation of NBA players.

No disrespect to one of the greatest commissioners ever, but David Stern is clearly a bit confused. Evidently, he's convinced he's moving forward when it's quite apparent he is moving backward.

Months after the basketball world debated over Stern instituting a dress code and what impact it would have, the NBA found it would yield some good public relations, no doubt positively affecting the league's bottom line with sponsors and advertisers.

When I last checked, though, all anyone's talking about is players' behavior and their undisciplined tendencies.

Way to go, Commissioner Stern!

If we had the time, or a genuine interest, there's an abundance of things we can get into here.

We could debate the incentive behind such a move by Stern. How vague this "whining" rule appears to be. Why the league appears to be moving toward being more protective of its officials than its players.

Or how Stern was allowed to get away with this, devoid of anyone's consent or, dare we say, some input from the National Basketball Players Association.

"We have absolutely no say in how our game is officiated," one prominent league GM told me Friday. "We can call and complain about calls that were made. We can have a conversation with [senior vice president] Stu Jackson. But it's not like executives from individual teams play any role in determining how the games will be called. We'd prefer the situation to be different, but what can you do?"

Allen Iverson should be asking the same question, considering the technical foul he received Friday night in Orlando, before hitting the game-winning shot. So should Denver's Carmelo Anthony, Sacramento's Mike Bibby and Chicago's Andres Nocioni.

While all of them are emotional players, they're not individuals plagued with dysfunctional behavior toward referees the way Rasheed Wallace has been throughout his career. And when someone thinks a player should be T'd up for expressing emotion without use of profanity, or simply because he threw his headband toward a chair on the bench while walking off the court, the ridiculous has officially regressed to the sublime.

To be fair to Stern, the players are not entirely blameless in this. Since the days when Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were ascending the NBA from the days of tape-delay, there's been some excessive whining, even from Magic himself.

And although there are some societal issues with these players that should be brought into focus, there's no question Stern was absolutely correct in instituting some kind of dress code, while strongly suggesting his players not pack handguns.

If the players weren't so spoiled, so flagrantly abusive with their attire from time to time and incapable of avoiding trouble - inside or outside of strip clubs - matters may not have eroded to this point.

Stern has an obligation to those who patronize his sport as much as to the players. But he's got to be wise enough to notice when he's playing into someone else's hands.

That includes individuals perpetuating whatever myths they want about players in his league.

Contrary to what appears to be popular belief, the actions of a few knuckleheads don't mirror the image of a league filled with 400-plus players who for the most part actually act like they have some sense.

Shaquille O'Neal, Grant Hill, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and a number of players could walk into anyone's home for supper with open arms, because they're decent human beings.

Why should Stephen Jackson or Ron Artest be allowed to sully their respective contributions?

Commissioner Stern told me, "We felt the new rules were necessary because there was entirely too much negotiating going on. The players. The coaches. Assistant coaches. Everyone. Just play the games."

Fair enough. But Stern would be wise to recognize that his intent will be used to spin reality toward someone else's tainted, biased point of view.

By and large, the players have enough problems with their image.

The last thing they need is knowing there's no help from the very man empowered to do, practically, anything he wants to them.

Nash13
11-06-2006, 09:48 AM
This article made me realize how much i dislike Stern.

I find it funny how bold Stern has become these past two years after the new CBA has been signed. Watch in about a two years or such he's going to back down.

MavsX
11-06-2006, 11:47 AM
stern sucks!

Flacolaco
11-06-2006, 11:54 AM
If Emperor Stern is concerned that the players whining is affecting the officiating, he should adopt the way it was in Japan at the FIBA tournament in the summer: just get officials who don't speak the same language as the players.

EricaLubarsky
11-07-2006, 03:20 AM
If Emperor Stern is concerned that the players whining is affecting the officiating, he should adopt the way it was in Japan at the FIBA tournament in the summer: just get officials who don't speak the same language as the players.
He needs them to speak HIS language. Thats his real concern.

Flacolaco
11-07-2006, 08:25 AM
You're probably right. but I don't speak "Emperor" either.

and you know another thing.....and I'm sure someone has made this point many times before, but NFL Coaches yell and scream at multiple officials up and down the sideline for 3 hours on a Sunday, and when is the last time you saw one of them thrown out of a game? Don't you think Gruden and Cowher and those guys are throwing F bombs out left and right? Whens the last time one of them didn't finish a game on the sideline?

And Avery doesnt even cuss. That's crap. That was crap last night. Now I'm pissed....

fluid.forty.one
11-07-2006, 04:20 PM
Wow, I actually agree with Stephen A Smith

sike
11-07-2006, 04:26 PM
I wonder how sports history will remember David Stern?

Dirkadirkastan
11-07-2006, 04:45 PM
I wonder how sports history will remember David Stern?

Remember when you stripped down and ran naked around the Toyota center last Saturday? Kind of like that.

sike
11-07-2006, 04:48 PM
Remember when you stripped down and ran naked around the Toyota center last Saturday? Kind of like that.
so they will be forever impressed?

Dirkadirkastan
11-07-2006, 06:28 PM
No. This is David Stern, not Howard Stern.

enervate
11-07-2006, 10:47 PM
Wow, I actually agree with Stephen A Smith

:eek: me too... http://img488.imageshack.us/img488/3226/suicidenb3.gif (http://imageshack.us)

Usually Lurkin
11-08-2006, 07:19 AM
double post

Usually Lurkin
11-08-2006, 07:23 AM
well crap. the second post was deleted after I edited the first.

The biggest problem I see with this thing is that it gives too much game-time power to the whim of the referees. Avery gets t'd up for complaining because his voice is annoying. Nellie complains and nothing happens because he's so friendly. Where's the line? Boundaries aren't clear for legal and illegal activities, and I can only see things getting worse.

How long until teams are awarded technical fouls when the fans boo the refs too loudly?