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STERN REACTIONS: MEDIA RESPOND TO CALIPARI, HALBERSTAM FINES
Published April 1, 1997
Media reactions continue over NBA Commissioner David Stern's $25,000 fining of Nets Coach John Calipari and $2,500 fining of Heat radio broadcaster David Halberstam for remarks made last week. GOOD CALL? In N.Y., NEWSDAY's Shaun Powell, on Calipari: "He got what he deserved: Tons of bad publicity, plenty of sleepless nights, added stress." Powell: "He didn't deserve to lose his job or get a suspension, and a single mistake shouldn't become a scarlet letter" (NEWSDAY, 3/28). The BOSTON GLOBE's Peter May notes that the NBPA "dared the league" to do something about Calipari's comments, two days before the fine (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/30). In DC, Leonard Shapiro: "Broadcasters shouldn't come under the commissioner's jurisdiction, and shouldn't be on team payrolls in the first place, even if it's clearly the trend in pro sports these days" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/28). In San Diego, Fritz Quindt, on Stern: "Nice precedent he's setting. Honk if you think it goes beyond the power vested in someone who puts his signature on a basketball" (UNION-TRIBUNE, 3/31). In N.Y., Bob Raissman: "Announcers are always faced with walking a tightrope. Stern's ruling may lead some voices to feel the rope is greased. With the NBA setting this precedent, might other leagues follow suit?" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/28). In Dallas, Cathy Harasta noted that Stern's decision -- "though the fines were skimpy,"-- indicated he felt the NBA "must be vigilant about what is said, even if the remarks go beyond the game" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/29). In S.F., David Steele noted the NBA "stepped way beyond the normal and accepted boundaries of corporate America. It's about time somebody did" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/1). In Utah, Brad Rock: "The fines were important for two reasons: first, because the NBA sent a clear message that it won't tolerate racially offensive remarks; second, those employed by the league or its teams are now accountable for what they say, even if the remarks aren't directly about basketball" (DESERET NEWS, 3/28). NET RESULT: In a meeting with Nets execs yesterday, Calipari received a formal letter of reprimand for his comments, according to Selena Roberts in the N.Y. TIMES. The team did not levy an additional fine to the NBA's, and "there was no apparent move" to force Calipari to "relinquish" some "power and control" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/1). BOOK REPORT: A Pocket Books publication called "Money Wars: Days and Nights in the NBA," by Armen Keteyian, Harvey Araton and Martin Dardis will be released next Tuesday. It includes two chapters focusing on some of the "turbulent events" surrounding Michael Jordan's '93 retirement. Keteyian: "There are two chapters specifically, out of 20 ... that deal with Michael Jordan" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/1).