Postgame Spread
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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Now THAT's How You DEBATE!    

SmegmaCenter had a fun poll up on the webertubes yesterday, one that I think makes for an interesting conversation: which league commissioner would you least like to be right now?

  • Roger Goodell, dealing with the Michael Vick fiasco after having overdone it on the Pacman/Tank/Henry suspensions
  • David Stern, faced with the Donaghy scandal, the worst NBA playoffs ever, and monumental fan distrust
  • Bud Selig, who is presiding over the torch being handed from a true hero to the most despicable ballplayer since Ty Cobb

I'd least want to be Selig.  At least Goodell and Stern have ways out of the mess: dropping the hammer on Vick and opening the books on the refs, respectively.  There is nothing Selig can do, though, to come out smelling roses; "fresh manure, with extra corn" is the BEST he can do at this point.

(No picking Gary Bettman, for having single-handedly destroyed a sport to the point where nobody knows you exist anymore, let alone care about you.  I'd still rather be the guy running a sport that can be found without buying the expanded digital trunk.)


  • I'd least want to be Stern.

    This is ignoring the fact that Stern is by FAR the best of the three- i'm only looking at the scandals they're faced with. Here's my take:

    MLB - The Home Roid Record. Although this is awkward as hell right now, I honestly believe that decades from now, it will be widely accepted that performance enhancing (and debilitating) drugs were pretty common not just in baseball, but all of sport. So the smart thing to do right now is grin and bear it, and let the historical record figure it out. You have the plausible deniability of the fact that Bonds has never been found guilty of anything, coupled with attendance and income figures that are the highest in the history of the sport. Don't give them headlines to write. Just smile, shake his hand, give him a plaque in cooperstown, and let dads explain it to their children/grandchildren however they want. My belief, again, is that they'll be looking back in 2100 thinking very differently about drugs and drug enforcement than we do now.

    NFL - pretty bad, but helped by two factors:
    -Vick is no longer the face of the league. Shunt all Vick endorsements to Vince Young, and you're all set. Yes, you may have to suspend his ass for like 3 years, but so be it. The league will survive. Again, attendance/ratings/income figures are the highest in history, and Atlanta wasn't going anywhere this year, with or without Vick.

    NBA - this is the worst case of all I think. It cuts to the core of sport: we have to believe the shit we're watching is real competition. We have to believe that the losses our team suffers are deserved. While we can stomach the occasional blown call (hi Jeet), deliberately blown calls we cannot. Even if this is just one guy, a singular case, it shatters our predisposition towards believing the game is on the level. It's ok for us to call the ref incompetent. It's NOT ok for us to believe he's actively biased. This is worse than players (bonds) cheating, cause players have cheated since day 1 in any way possible to get a competitive advantage. Officials cheating is 100x worse.

    just my wordy 2 cents.

    By Blogger Alex, at 10:08 AM  

  • I definitely agree that the Donaghy situation is the worst of the three, and with your breakdown on the whole. Vick is an isolated problem, not a scandal. Steroids involve a grey area that hasn't yet been resolved. Dirty refs, though, are 100% unacceptable to everyone besides Vince McMahon. The can of worms is open. The toothpaste is officially out of the tube.

    But ignoring Stern's status the lone genuine ass-kicker in the bunch is what allows you to choose him. Sure, he's got the most daunting task, but do any of us consider him incapable of solving it? There are actions available to him. He can go the Draconian route. He can make the entire oversight process transparent. He can fire everybody. Those have varying levels of effectiveness, and none of them are desirable... but at least he has choices.

    Like you said, there's nothing for Bud Selig to do but sit there with that stupid look on his face. His place in history as a laughingstock is cemented. Stern can still dig himself out.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 10:31 AM  

  • And by "stupid look" I of course am referring to this.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 10:33 AM  

  • I agree. Stern is by far the most capable to deal. I expect/advise a combination of transparent and draconian. I believe he would prefer to be draconian and secretive, but this particular situation SCREAMS for transparency. And he's smart enough to know that. At the same time, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him fire the shit out of any and everyone remotely implicated by whatever statistical/film/FBI investigations come about. At which point the NBA referee union (I assume there is one?) would object, have 0 public support, and lose so badly they wind up in a corner of the bar, wishing they had $ for braces, lamenting that the hot bartender is across the room chatting up the NHL.

    By Blogger Alex, at 2:02 PM  

  • Oh, and it is NOT a dangerous thing to confuse children with angels.

    By Blogger Alex, at 2:03 PM  

  • Huh? If we're veering into non sequiturs then I'm gonna start telling old jokes.

    Q: What's the difference between a nun in the chapel and a nun in the bath?

    A: One has a soul full of hope...

    By Blogger Jeff, at 3:00 PM  

  • Yeah, I think Stern would be the worst, though being the owner of the Falcons and seeing your chances at winning anytime soon slip away could actually be worse. Selig's in kind of a rough spot, but I don't think Bonds taking over the all-time record is that big of a deal. I mean, Bonds seems like a jerk and all but he's at least talented enough to deserve some big records, and a roider holding that all-time home run record was completely inevitable anyway, in my opinion, so that part doesn't seem like such a big deal.

    By Blogger Jesse, at 12:32 PM  

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