I disagree with Stern’s position on the minimum-age requirement and some of his discipline decisions, but stand with him on two points Gumbel mentioned: the dress code and the crackdown on players who dispute calls.
My team, if I owned one, would definitely ban items such as jerseys, caps and doo-rags in certain instances, like during travel. If they want to dress like rappers, they can go sign with a record label. And I have no desire to see basketball inch closer to baseball’s lead, where umpires are questioned and abused by custom. Baseball doesn’t have timeouts, but it could use a “timeout corner” after each temper tantrum.
Gumbel’s line about “hired hands” is another indication that he might be the one with a warped sense of NBA players.
We’re all hired hands unless we’re self-employed. Even then, we often make our services available for hire. The Los Angeles Lakers retained Mr. Kobe Bean Bryant’s services last season for about $25 million.
That’s nice work if you can get it.
Stern’s handling of the lockout isn’t debatable from management’s point-of-view. Owners seem perfectly willing to scrap the entire 2011-12 season, and Stern is merely doing his part as their point man. They’re demanding massive concessions from the players and he’s playing the role of tough cop.
Adding federal mediator George Cohen to the process has helped the two sides negotiate more in three days than they did in the last two months.
More talking by them is good.
So is less by Gumbel.