BOSTON COLUMNIST STANDS BY CRITIQUE OF NBA DRUG POLICY
Two days after NBA Commissioner David Stern publicly
criticized the BOSTON GLOBE and columnist Will McDonough for his
piece on the NBA drug policy, McDonough responded by reporting
that Stern "was just bowing to pressure" from Celtic officials.
McDonough claims Stern was met before Wednesday's ceremony
honoring Reggie Lewis by an angry Red Auerbach, who "whiplashed
Stern verbally" for past issues issues concerning Lewis' death,
and by Celtics Owner Paul Gaston, who criticized Stern for "not
standing up" to media reports alleging Lewis' drug use. Later,
Stern held a press conference to denounce the GLOBE story and
defend the league's drug policy. McDonough spoke to Stern on
Friday about the incident, and Stern said he wanted to show that
the GLOBE was "inaccurate and made my drug policy look bad when I
think it is the best." McDonough noted marijuana is not
recognized as a drug by the NBA -- "maybe someone forgot to tell
Stern when he authored this drug policy, which he claims to be
the toughest he is aware of, that marijuana is illegal everywhere
but in the NBA." Stern said he hoped "it can be included in the
next NBA policy." McDonough's conclusion remains that the NBA's
policy is that "it does not want to catch its players. ... The
facts seem to be that Reggie Lewis used cocaine from his days at
Northeastern until his last Celtic game, and the great NBA
program did nothing to stop him, or ever slow him down."
McDonough's column included a comparison of drug policies of the
four major leagues (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/25).
MEDIA INTROSPECTION: More thoughts on the coverage of the
Lewis story. In L.A., basketball writer Mark Heisler writes that
as the Celtics retired Lewis' number, "everyone railied at the
media, the timing, the snitches. TV poofs like CNN's Fred
Hickman, uncomfortable with an actual story, asked plaintively,
'Why now?' Heisler writes, "Why not now? Unbecoming as it is,
there is only a problem if the story is inaccurate" (L.A. TIMES,
3/26). In Boston, sports media writer Jim Baker criticized NBA
broadcast partners TNT and NBC for not showing "the kind of zeal
they display" in showcasing Michael Jordan "when it comes to a
meaty issue like probing an NBA drug policy" (BOSTON HERALD,
UNION ISSUES: NBPA Exec Dir Charles Grantham "takes issue"
with Suns Owner Jerry Colangelo for reinstating Richard Dumas,
only if Dumas agreed to submit to frequent testing by the club.
Grantham said this is technically a "violation of the [league]
agreement, and I would expect the league to fine any team not in
compliance with the agreement substantially" (Ailene Voisin,
ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/26).
The latest discussions on a new CBA "were not hopeful," according
to the BOSTON GLOBE's Jackie MacMullan. Sources told MacMullan
the NBPA asked for 73% of the defined gross revenue in its last
proposal (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/26).