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Volume 24 No. 176
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Mavericks' Carlisle Lashes Out At ESPN For Using LaVar Ball As Source In Lakers Story

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle "sounded off" on an ESPN report yesterday about LaVar Ball criticizing Lakers coach Luke Walton, calling the article a "disgrace," according to Kevin Casas of the Ft. Worth STAR-TELEGRAM. Carlisle, who serves as NBA Coaches Association President, suggested that ESPN, as an NBA broadcast partner, had "violated the trust of NBA coaches." Carlisle: "ESPN is an NBA partner and they’ve been a great one. Part of that partnership is that, the coaches do a lot of things to help them with access, interviews and all those kinds of things. In exchange for that, they should back up the coaches. Printing an article where the father of an NBA player has an opinion that is printed that is anything like legitimate, erodes trust. Our coaches are upset. Luke Walton doesn’t deserve that." Carlisle denied he was "suggesting that ESPN should run news based on what coaches will like." He said, "I’m saying they should look at their sources and do a better job of determining if their sources have any merit or any validity or are they just blowhard loud mouths" (Ft. Worth STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/8). In New Jersey, Steve Popper notes Carlisle was "upset ESPN would even give a platform to Ball" (Bergen RECORD, 1/8). NBA reporter Sam Amico tweeted, "Several NBA coaches plan to ask media relations staffs to revoke credentials of basketball writers who interview LaVar Ball, league sources tell AmicoHoops. Ball was critical of Lakers coach Luke Walton in comments made to ESPN" (TWITTER.com, 1/7). In DC, Des Bieler notes ESPN's Dick Vitale "took to Twitter to vent his own frustrations." Vitale: "Y do we chase LaVar Ball? R we that desperate for 1 of his absurd statements?" He added, "He is so sad & we give him a forum for his classless comments!" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/8).

MISGUIDED PERSECUTION? USA TODAY's Andrew Joseph wrote Carlisle "completely missed the mark about the dynamics of ESPN's partnership with the NBA." While ESPN is a business that "pays exorbitant amounts for a multi-billion-dollar NBA rights deal, it also operates as a journalism entity." For those worlds to work, they have to "remain separate." It is "not the job of ESPN reporters to be a public-relations arm of the NBA, and Carlisle should know that." It would have been "journalistic malpractice for Goodman to listen to LaVar say those things about Walton on the record and not print it" (USATODAY.com, 1/7).

TAKING SIDES: Reaction to Carlisle's comments was split on social media. ESPN's Jemele Hill tweeted, "With all due respect to Rick Carlisle, this isn’t how it works. You can certainly argue about the attention paid to Lavar Ball, which is fair. But saying ESPN should side w/ coaches because we’re a NBA partner is all kinds of dangerous." The Big Lead's Ryan Glasspiegel: "If the NBA wants a broadcast partner that never makes the coaches uncomfortable they could air their own games instead of taking ESPN's $1.4 billion check." CBS Radio Atlanta's Arthur Triche: "I respect Rick Carlisle immensely - and I agree, LaVar Ball is a nuisance (thanks to ESPN and others) - but you CANNOT place the NBA and their member teams in that position of revoking credentials of media members." CBSSports.com's Tony Mejia: "Bravo, Rick Carlisle. ESPN erodes trust every time they give that clown LaVar Ball air time." Rivals' Matthew Hatfield: "Just saw Rick Carlisle call Lavar Ball a blowhard loudmouth on SportsCenter. So glad I almost stood up and applauded. About time." Raiders Wire's Will Reeve Jr.: "Carlisle's comments on LaVar Ball warmed my heart. Bless that man for being a truth speaker." News 12 New Jersey's Nick Meidanis: "Love that Rick speaks up. The broadcast partnership shouldn’t influence a story. But he’s right about the rest. Attribution doesn’t equal absolution."