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THE STERN WORD: WHAT DOES RULING MEAN TO NBA'S TOP BOSS?
Published March 5, 1998
The impact of Feerick's ruling on the power of NBA Commissioner David Stern is widely debated today. STERN'S POWER CURBED? In N.Y., Mitch Lawrence calls the ruling an "enormous setback to the current law-and-order crackdown engineered by Stern" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/5). In Toronto, Chris Young writes that Stern's "wings have been clipped considerably" (TORONTO STAR, 3/5). In Charlotte, Rick Bonnell calls Feerick's conclusion "nutty" and adds that Stern now "has no bite left to support his bark" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 3/5). In San Jose, Bud Geracie "grudgingly" approves of Feerick's decision and writes the NBA "lost in that the authority of its commissioner was undercut. But it could have been so much worse" (MERCURY NEWS, 3/5). In Ft. Worth, Kevin Lyons writes that the ruling "saps, if just a wee bit, some of" Stern's power (STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/5). In Philadelphia, Mike Bruton calls the decision "right on the money" and said Stern was "thinking more about the NBA's image than fairness" when he levied the punishment last December. But Bruton adds: "Even though Feerick ruled in Sprewell's favor, Stern still got his public relations spin across" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/5). Also in Philadelphia, Bill Conlin writes that while Feerick "turned the NBA's code of conduct into a funnybook for fools," the finding "points a glowing finger at the failure" of Stern to give Sprewell "anything resembling the due process" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 3/5). On CNN/SI.com, Phil Taylor writes Sprewell should "thank the league for handling his case so poorly." Taylor: "The league has been too lenient in the past to get away with throwing the book at Sprewell now. And that's why Stern has suffered such a major blow to his authority" (CNN/SI). In AZ, Dan Bickley blames Stern, who "tried to make a sweeping statement and overstepped his boundaries. ... [H]e gave the arbitrator all the ammunition he needed" (AZ REPUBLIC, 3/5). In Chicago, Jay Mariotti says Stern "overstepped his bounds" with the penalty and was "too stern" (SUN-TIMES, 3/5). OR IS STERN'S POWER ENHANCED? In Philadelphia, Sam Donnellon writes that the ruling "mostly supported Stern, and he will no doubt use it this summer. He will also use it ... as a starting point for future transgressions of this magnitude" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 3/5). In Toronto, Craig Daniels, calls the decision "fuzzy," but "essentially sound," and writes that Stern's authority "not only has been upheld, it might have been strengthened" (TORONTO SUN, 3/5). In Dallas, Randy Galloway writes the ruling "stripped the teams of power ... but strengthened the power of a commissioner" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/5).