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David Stern Terrifies Me

We haven't commented on the plight of NBA referee Tim Donaghy, the subject of the most obvious breaking story (people WITHIN sports are gambling on games?! gasp!) since word came down that Tom Brady likes to impregnate many beautiful women. This is mainly because it is what it is -- an isolated incident that everybody who's ever watched a sport seriously has always suspected happened. It was just a matter of time before someone got caught.

But I watched the David Stern press conference today, and it's important to note, coming from somebody with slightly above no interest in the NBA, that the four major leagues (and yes, I'm including the NHL in this because, fuck you, it's way better than you know) should all be under a collective dubbed American Sports or something equally unimaginative and that David Stern should be in charge of everything.

Stern, Bud Selig, Roger Goodell, and Gary Bettman are all experiencing their share of PR problems this summer. Stern hasn't had a chance to really respond to the Donaghy fallout, so it's tough to quantify his reaction thus far, but just watching the man logically and level-headedly be completely forthright (as much as possible under FBI orders, anyway) about what is known, what will be found out and how he feels about it all was refreshing. You just know Stern is going to take care of this the way it should be taken care of, because he has a history of it. He's made a ton of great decisions, and he's not afraid to admit when something isn't working (giving the players their preferred ball, after playing tough on the dress code two years ago, was a brilliant example of picking and choosing your battles).

Bud Selig, currently enduring the Barry Bonds nonsense, and Gary Bettman, currently single-handedly destroying a great and historic sport, have handled their issues this summer like cowards. Bettman is back-door dealing to rob an NHL-thirsty city of a team because of his desire to Americanize one of the few things left un-Americanized in our nation. Selig refuses to face his problem altogether. We don't have an appropriate body of work to judge Roger Goodell, but if he doesn't tell Mike Vick to make this temporary hiatus a permanent one, he's dead to me.

But watching Stern speak about the situation, you just feel that it genuinely irks him -- he cares about the NBA (which is more than I can say for at least Selig and Bettman). He wants to extract revenge for what happened, and he wants to make amends before this puts a long-term damper on the NBA's popularity. I wouldn't be surprised if Tim Donaghy winds up getting capped at a gas station before his Toyota Corolla rolls over his skull.



Bettman's gotta go!!!


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