Friday, the master and commander of the NBA David Stern has decided if you don’t play the lineup he wants when she says so, you pay the consequences. A $250,000 fine for not playing the right players in a game the Spurs almost won against the Heat.
In general, I have agreed with the way Stern has run the NBA making it one of the largest commercialized sports leagues. I have agreed with how he has expanded the number of teams, cleaning up the image with the Dress Code and the policies in cleaning up flopping. The fine set by Mr. Stern sets a different tone for the league, sit the wrong player the wrong night and pay the price.
His logic is it was not in the best interest of the league, the people paid to see the top players and this was the only time the Spurs were visiting Miami. It makes you wonder what will be next for fines? Don’t play Lebron or Kobe at least 40 minutes and get fined? Don’t play Kobe at the Shooting Guard but at Power Forward and incur another fine since the people were paying to see him play Shooting Guard?
Additional reasoning for fining the Spurs, whether Stern wants to say it or not, was due to the game being on “National Television”. In today’s televise everything climate in sports today, there is no such thing as National Television. People now only follow their local team because they can with most to all games on some local TV station. Going back 30 to 40 years ago, in order to get your fix of basketball, you had to rely on the National TV game, but those rules do not apply today. While I don’t have numbers to back this up, I bet the only people that were watching that game were mostly fans of the Spurs or Heat.
Teams in other sports sit players all the time without the fear of their commissioner. Bud Selig should be fining the heck out of MLB teams when they traditionally play their backup players on Sunday day game or do not call on a bench player/bullpen pitcher on any given night. Same concept, would not the fan have purchased the tickets with the understanding that their favorite player(s) might not be playing that day. In the NFL, teams that have cinched playoff positions have rested players in front of the playoff with no penalty.
I’m sure on the tickets the Heat fans brought it did not say “Tim Duncan vs. LeBron James”, it stated “San Antonio Spurs vs, Miami Heat”. When you purchase a ticket to any sport you are purchasing to see a sporting contest, not a player. If you want to ensure you see a player in person you buy a ticket to any personal appearance he might make in public outside the sporting world. Because you are purchasing a ticket to the appearance with the understanding he will be there.
I have traditionally agreed with the choices Stern has made, but this one leaves me a little shaky on the NBA and what the future holds. Lets hope this is only a blip on the radar and not a trend to a possible downfall in NBA.