Bucks Diary

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Stern and Patrick go Bush and Rather

Did anyone catch the verbal melee between David Stern and Dan Patrick on The Dan Patrick Show on ESPN Radio? It was as contentious in its own way as the famous shouting match between Dan Rather and George HW Bush on the CBS Evening News. I heard it this afternoon driving in my car. Its easily the most animated I have ever heard the ubercommissioner get. Patrick was sort of baiting him, in much the same way Rather baited HW Bush back in 1989, but I was surprised that Stern took the bait. He's usually analytical and cool. Today he was sarcastic and biting ("Okay Dan, let me make a note of that" he said at one point). Very out of character for Stern. If you haven't heard the exchange, they will apparently play it on Sportscenter tonight. I can't remember it verbatim, and don't want to give you an inaccurate account.

As for the suspension issue itself, everyone's attacking Stern for ruining a great series, but I will come to his defense. The only thing that prevented Horry's hipcheck from becoming an ugly, ugly donnybrook... the only thing... was the threat of suspension brought on by the rule Stern felt compelled to enforce. There's no question about that in my mind.

If you watch the tape, when Stoudamire came off the bench, he wanted a piece of Horry in the worst way. You could see it. Had it not been for the harsh "don't leave the bench" blackletter rule, there is no way in hell those assistant coaches would have been able to hold him back. In fact, the only thing that held him back was his realization (and you can see the moment it occurs in his head because he starts backpedaling) that his actions could cost his team dearly. And they did. And that's why the rule's in place, and why Stern felt he had to uphold it, come what may.


At May 17, 2007 at 11:02 AM, Blogger 3000 said...

I hear you. While it's regrettable that the suspensions cost the Suns ('cause, seriously, eff the Spurs), the blame FOR these suspensiions lies with Stoudemire and Diaw.

Bill Simmons makes an interesting point about the way the rule saps the league of it's rightful competitive spirit, but his analogies to pick up games and rec leagues is flawed. While dudes on the playground can't be expected to hold themselves back if an opponent flops or Bruce Bowens a jumpshooter or jacks up a teammate, dudes on the playground AREN'T getting paid millions of dollars a year not to.

The lack of self control to stay on a bench during a confrontation is like athletes that can't keep on the right side of the law for the five to ten years of their lives that they're professionals.

With all the money that stands to be made (and lost) it boggles my mind when guys are caught, y'know, in shoot outs at strip clubs or hosting dog fights or with a small army's worth of guns and ammunition in their suburban mansion.

At May 17, 2007 at 12:50 PM, Blogger Blogmaster said...

Another thing I noticed is the irony implicit in all the criticism. The only reason Stoudamire "barely left the bench" is because the harshness of the rule kept him from going any further. So, what the critics are doing, is effectively criticizing the rule for working too well.

Can you imagine -- after a cheapshot like Horry's -- how the brawl the NBA would have had to explain if that rule were not in place? I guarantee it would have been a bonfire that would have burned down the entire playoffs.


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