SBD/5/Leagues Governing Bodies

THE STERN WORD: WHAT DOES RULING MEAN TO NBA'S TOP BOSS?

          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). 

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