PlayBook: An Open Letter to David Stern

By Fraser Lockerbie

One fan wallows in the ruins of what was once a great game. Plus Week 14 lines.

We’re never going to get back to talking about football given the speed at which the NBA is falling into disrepute. It’s a bona fide three-ring circus these days with the ringleader Stern at the center pulling the strings and setting the various hoops a team might have to jump through ablaze. It’s a bit of a farce that might as well be scripted because it’s hard to believe it’s actually not. In the ensuing confusion we’re writing a letter to show our displeasure before this all goes too far.

This has nothing to do with sports writing. No numbers or logic or reasoned response. This is one fan, of what was once a good game, upset that its sunk to such a sad level.

David, we’ve never met but you’ve made us sad. Sad, then happy, then sad.

Knowing for months since the close of last season that the CBA was set to expire, you dawdled. You took a lackadaisical approach to something so decidedly not lackadaisical that it cost you a third of the season and salaries to boot. Then, when it finally came time to bargain you balked at compromise, backed like a badger into a corner you got what you wanted, an agreement that was “fair.” You sold out to owners for the sake of a season and for one solid moment we were happy again. Having basketball back and in time for Christmas made us forget all the wrong you had done. Which makes what came next such a sad, sad moment that it will likely go down as the day your reign died.

David, the move lacks all credibility. We can’t take you seriously as a commissioner anymore. The NBA, a supposed free market big brother, has no business sticking its nose in. Yet you did at the behest of impatient owners unhappy their investment is not paying off. Parity at the cost of professional propriety seems like a steep price to pay. We’re not saying we’re not happy to see Chris Paul playing in Griffin Town, we’re just saying we’re not happy with how it came about and for the reasons it was done.

We’re worried about you David. Where’s the commissioner that sat with a smirk while others complained and he just brushed them off? Are the days long gone when the game really mattered? Is it just about business and dollars and cents? Are players just commodities to be auctioned and traded? Are the fans just numbers at the end of the day?

You made us sad David. Sad, then happy, then sad.

This week’s lines:

Green Bay (-13.5) over Kansas City

Playing the Chiefs to secure home field through the playoffs? This line couldn’t get high enough.

Pittsburgh (+1.5) over San Francisco

Both teams can stop the run so winning will require taking to the sky which Big Ben can do and Alex Smith sort of can, sometimes, but not always and probably not against the Steelers.

New York (+3) over Philadelphia

It’s about time we made a confession: We haven’t bet the Eagles right once this season. Not once in 12 games. Make of that what you will.

New England (-6.5) over Denver

Unconventional offense, meet unconventional (read non-existent) defense. Denver has made a point of keeping it close, winning their last three games by a margin of three. That is not going to happen with the Patriots; all Tebowing aside, Denver just doesn’t have the offensive weapons to keep pace.

New Orleans (-6.5) over Minnesota

What do you get when you cross the top passing team in the league with one of the worst pass defenses? A blowout, plain and simple.

Miami (PK) over Buffalo

Miami is in the precarious position of having to win just the right amount of games to ensure Stephen Ross doesn’t try anything funny on draft day like taking someone not named Robert Griffin III. Five wins seems about right which means they need this win against Buffalo before closing out the season with loses to New England and New York.

Seattle (+3.5) over Chicago

In other Windy City news: The Bulls are back.

Dallas (-6.5) over Tampa Bay

The Bucs have lost by less than seven only twice in seven weeks; the Broncos have only covered seven twice in the same seven weeks. The game means more to Dallas so we’ll say they win it but not by more than seven.

Washington (+7) over New York

As bad a Rex Grossman and John Beck have been this season, rookie Roy Helu and the Redskins have played tough teams tough down the stretch; 27-34 against the Pats,  24-27 against the Jets. Next up: The Giants.

Baltimore (-2.5) over San Diego

The Chargers haven’t been able to get much going against bad offenses; there is no reason to believe they’ll do much against a good one.

Quick Slants: Carolina (+6.5) over Houston, Cincinnati (-3.5) over St. Louis, Tennessee (-6.5) over Indianapolis, Detroit (-1) over Oakland, Cleveland (+6.5) over Arizona

Last Week: 10-5

Overall: 49-35-2


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