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NBA Lockout Watch, Day 125: Does Stern's Penalty Prove Owners Are Split?
Published November 2, 2011
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EXPOSING THE DIVIDE: THE SPORTS NETWORK's John McMullen noted the fine suggests that the owners "are far more divided than Stern has let on, something that undoubtedly makes Arison the most popular employer among NBA players right now" (THE SPORTS NETWORK, 11/1). Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said, “The owners have different agendas and different sides … that’s why the league doesn’t want them talking. They’re causing problems” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 11/1). ESPN's Dan Le Batard said, "I understand the symbolic nature of this fine because Arison basically said, ‘No, the owners aren’t united.’" Le Batard: "Everyone in those meetings knows the owners are divided on this while presenting a united front to the public. This is about public relations” (“Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable,” ESPN2, 11/1). In Miami, Greg Cote writes Arison's "truth said so much of what the NBA wanted kept hidden,” as suddenly the league’s "supposed united front of owners in this financial grudge match with the players union was revealed to be anything but united." For the first time, an owner was "acknowledging the long suspected: that a sharp division within the club owners was continuing this stalemate." Cote notes of the "small-market owners holding compromise-minded colleagues and basketball fans at gunpoint," who more than Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert "might revel in Arison and [Heat President] Pat Riley's anxiousness not to waste a year?" (MIAMI HERALD, 11/2). In Cleveland, Tom Reed notes whether the small markets can "make it more difficult on teams such as the Knicks, Lakers and Heat to add valuable pieces through changes to the system" remains to be seen. He writes the league’s "entire 'competitive balance argument' seems a dubious one when the primary focus is on how to split the $4 billion in basketball-related revenue" (CLEVELAND.com, 11/2).
STERN GETS PANNED: In Oklahoma City, Berry Tramel writes David Stern is the "biggest loser in this NBA lockout." Once considered the "best commissioner in sport, by what gauge would he now not be considered the worst? His game is dark, with its second work stoppage in the last 13 years." Tramel writes, "Stern now has trumped baseball commish Bud Selig" (THE OKLAHOMAN, 11/2). In Sacramento, Brian Blomster writes in the absence of NBA games, "targeting a scapegoat is good fun." Blomster's "choice to wear a bull's-eye" is Stern (SACRAMENTO BEE, 11/2).
NO RETURN FOR COHEN: The N.Y. TIMES' Beck reports there “are no talks, and none planned.” Negotiators “briefly discussed bringing back George Cohen, the federal mediator who presided over three days of talks last month” but Stern said that Cohen “would not be returning” (N.Y. TIMES, 11/2).