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Thread: NBA Image problem - what or who do you blame?

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    Default NBA Image problem - what or who do you blame?

    I was looking back through some old TV ratings articles, and uncovered this blog. Had me going for a second. But I think the point is made rather well. Also interesting to read the readers comments



    http://sportsmediawatch.blogspot.com...#disqus_thread

    By Paul Paulsen

    The NBA is full of thugs, and here's the rap sheet to prove it
    The Gilbert Arenas situation has made it clear as day: the NBA has a problem.

    The league is "full of thugs," to quote Forbes editor Michael K. Ozanian. San Francisco Examiner writer Bob Frantz recently wrote that the NBA's "overly ink-stained players look like a bunch of gang-bangers playing in the recreation yard at Pelican Bay," following that up by saying that Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittendon had validated his opinion. Frantz: "A league filled with guys that look like thugs is bound to be filled with guys that act like thugs" (sfexaminer.com, 1/4/10).

    And they're absolutely right. Just take a look at the league's rap sheet.

    An NBA player was just released from prison after being involved in a murder-for-hire plot involving his agent. There's an NBA player currently serving a 14 year prison sentence for attempted murder, and another player serving a sentence for conspiring to murder his pregnant girlfriend.

    There are fights in NBA games on an almost nightly basis -- including one during the league's outdoor game earlier this season, its showcase event. Several years ago, an NBA player grabbed an elderly assistant coach by the head and shoved him to the ground during a melee in the Conference Finals. Five years ago, an NBA player threw a chair into the stands and broke a woman's nose -- just months after another player suckerpunched an opponent, breaking his neck.

    NBA players are unquestionably prone to violence. One player demonstrated to ESPN's Outside the Lines how he would handle someone who would attempt to mug him. "If someone's right here, ... and he's like, 'give me your wallet,' and he's got a knife. I'm like, alright man, let me grab my wallet," he grabbed his gun and laughed, "there it is. Now, he's got a chance to turn tail, or he's getting it. Better leave. If you think you can get me with that knife before I squeeze off three rounds with this, you'll be gravely mistaken." If that does not epitomize thug life, I don't know what does.

    An NBA player was arrested for domestic battery last year -- less than a year after his brother, a fellow NBA player, was sued for allegedly beating his pregnant girlfriend. The star of the NBA's championship team was sued for alleged sexual assault over the summer.

    And let's not forget the NBA player that murdered his teammate back in 2003.

    The fact is, the NBA has a problem. The league is filled with vile, criminal thugs. No other league deals with the kind of criminal activity that the NBA does. Not the NHL, not Major League Baseball -- and certainly not college basketball, where the players are uncorrupted by the money in the pros. Even the NFL has more upstanding citizens than the ...

    Hold on a moment.

    I'm receiving word that the aforementioned murder-for-hire plot involved NHL player Mike Danton. And that the person serving a 14-year prison sentence for attempted murder is former MLB player -- and member of the '03 World Champion Marlins -- Ugueth Urbina. And the person in jail for the murder of his pregnant girlfriend is the NFL's Rae Carruth.

    Also, I've been informed that the NBA has not had a brawl since 2006. To the best of my understanding, those nightly brawls I referenced earlier took place in the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball. Again, I apologize -- but who could blame me? It's not like you hear about fights in those leagues.

    Furthermore, the outdoor game fight took place during the NHL's Winter Classic, the player who shoved the elderly assistant to the ground was MLB player Pedro Martinez, the player who threw a chair in the stands was MLB player Frank Francisco, and the player who broke an opponent's neck during a fight was the NHL's Todd Bertuzzi.

    The Outside the Lines quote was made by MLB player Luke Scott, and the brothers involved in separate domestic violence incidents were MLB's Brian and Marcus Giles. And, apparently, the superstar sued for alleged sexual assault was the star of the Super Bowl champion Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger.

    Finally, it has come to my attention that the player who murdered his teammate in '03 was Baylor college basketball player Carlton Dotson.

    Huh. Boy, it's a good thing none of those other sports have image problems. Or those incidents would really have stuck.

    Okay, so the other leagues have their issues. But those are isolated incidents. Why judge Major League Baseball just because an elderly man was thrown to the ground and had to be taken away by stretcher, or just because a woman had a her nose crushed by a folding chair?

    And besides, that doesn't change the fact that the NBA is filled with unrepentant, preening, arrogant thugs. Just look at Jayson Williams, who killed his limo driver and continues to get into legal trouble. Sure, he hasn't played in the NBA in a decade, and he was retired when said incident took place, but he is still representative of the league as a whole. You know, the same way Jim Leyritz (arrested on DUI manslaughter after the death of a woman in '07, and then arrested in '09 on domestic battery charges) is representative of Major League Baseball.

    The Pacers/Pistons brawl is perhaps the best example of the NBA's rampant thuggery. Players going into the stands to fight with fans is unprecedented in the history of sports. Except for the time Bruins players went into the stands at Madison Square Garden. And the time Dodgers players went into the stands at Wrigley Field. But Pacers/Pistons was different. After all, as Mike Breen said, Ron Artest had a "scary look in his eyes." Mike Milbury was just having fun out there.

    The NBA's gun problem is another good example. Devin Harris estimated that 75% of NBA players own guns. Take a look at the list of NBA players involved in gun incidents in recent years: Jayson Williams, Sebastian Telfair, Arenas, Crittendon, Delonte West, Stephen Jackson, DeShawn Stevenson and Chris Mills. That's 9 whole players -- enough to fill an injury-decimated team -- and those are just the 9 we know about. It could be 25 or 50 of them for all we know.

    If 75% of the NBA owns guns, and the NBA has 400 players, then we're talking about 300 pistol-packing NBA thugs. Now, sure, 9 (or even 50) out of 300 is a fairly small fraction -- and one that would seem to indicate that the vast majority of NBA gun owners are responsible with their weapons. But just the fact that they have those weapons is a bad thing. After all, gun ownership is illegal in the United States. (ed. note, apparently, the right to bear arms is guaranteed in the Constitution. Who knew?)

    And guns aside, everyone knows that NBA players frequently get in trouble with the law. Remember that book by Jeff Benedict, "Out of Bounds: Inside the NBA's Culture of Rape, Violence, and Crime," where he found that 40% of NBA players have a police record involving a serious crime? Sure, his sample size was limited to 177 of the NBA's 417 non-foreign born players -- less than half. And sure, the book did not "disclose a detailed listing of his data" (New York Times, 6/15/04). And sure, as NBA Commissioner David Stern noted, the book lumped together those who were accused of crimes and those who were convicted (ed. note, apparently, there is indeed a difference between being accused of a crime and being convicted of one.)

    But who cares? 40 percent of NBA players! Rape, Violence and Crime! That's all you need to know. And sure, I could do an investigation into cable news, use Bill O'Reilly and Kiran Chetry as my sample size, and say that 50% of cable news hosts have been accused of sexual harassment. But that doesn't matter. It sounds true, doesn't it? It reinforces our preconceived notions.

    It doesn't matter what's true. It doesn't matter what goes on in other sports. It doesn't matter that for every Javaris Crittendon, there's Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and countless others. It doesn't matter that the majority of NBA players are more than likely law abiding citizens.

    The league has an image problem. It has an image problem not because of what actually takes place, but because of what observers have convinced themselves takes place. It has an image problem because every incident becomes part of a trend. It has an image problem because the league's first player-related scandal in three years has also resulted in its only mentions on cable news shows in three years.

    With that in mind, I, for one, will join my sportswriting colleagues -- from Terrence Moore and Michael K. Ozanian to Gary Thorne and Jason Whitlock before them -- in continuing to judge the league and its players based on stereotypes and innuendo. The NBA is full of thugs, and I think I speak for those aforementioned individuals when I say there's nothing you can say to make me think otherwise.

    Published by Paulsen at 1:48 PM

    Labels: NBA

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    dbrown1225 2 months ago

    Every sport has players that get in trouble in some regard.

    The fact that you wrote an article to prove that the NBA is full of thugs might say as much about you as it does the league.
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    Jason Clinkscales 2 months ago in reply to dbrown1225

    He's being sarcastic. EXTREMELY sarcastic. Believe me when I say that there are few bloggers and media reporters who respect and defend the NBA as he does. Just go through the archives.
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    dbrown1225 2 months ago in reply to Jason Clinkscales

    My comment should be deleted. I didn't read the article as thoroughly as I should have.
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    Jason Clinkscales 2 months ago in reply to dbrown1225

    Stuff happens. Yet, how you felt is how all fans feel about the league when unknowledgeable hacks in the mainstream denigrate it as such.
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    AvEryBadApPLe 3 months ago

    Maybe, just maybe, professional athletes shouldn't be considered role models. I find it rather amusing that folks want to cry about these recent turn of events with these so called "star" athletes. They're definitely not perfect and as screwed up in the head as the next person. It's quite possible that there will be another one cutting up only weeks, maybe days from now.
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    Jen Nguyen 3 months ago

    Excellent article!
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    someone 3 months ago

    You are an idiot so just because a basketball player has a gun he's a thug, "One player demonstrated to ESPN's Outside the Lines how he would handle someone who would attempt to mug him. "If someone's right here, ... and he's like, 'give me your wallet,' and he's got a knife. I'm like, alright man, let me grab my wallet," he grabbed his gun and laughed, "there it is. Now, he's got a chance to turn tail, or he's getting it. Better leave. If you think you can get me with that knife before I squeeze off three rounds with this, you'll be gravely mistaken." If that does not epitomize thug life, I don't know what does.", how does protecting yourself make you a thug, thats like saying eating meat to survive makes you a barbarian. Some comments say this is a great post but it is a ridiculous one.
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    James 3 months ago in reply to someone

    I think someone missed the entire point of the article. Have you, by any chance, ever heard of the term 'sarcasm?'

    Interesting note by someone earlier. The Knicks and Heat used to have epic brawls in the late 90s, and it was never considered a bad thing. Why the sudden shift?
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    Colby 3 months ago

    Thank you for writing this. Too bad the jokers in mainstream media are too blind and/or racist to write something like this so that this myth can be dispelled
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    Andrew 3 months ago

    As someone from a completely white america background who has gone to undergrad and law school at small jesuit colleges and had to listen about how football and college basketball are better than nba basketball because "they care more" and "aren't a bunch of thugs" I loooooooved reading this article. For whatever reason, people act goofy when it comes to the nba (cough *RACE* cough). Pretty bitter, very funny, and very engaging writing. Thanks for the read.
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    sitruc 3 months ago

    Great article.
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    oxymor0n 3 months ago

    good job writing this article! i'm not in the US so i dont know the extent of the problem over there, but it's always heartwarming to see some1 stand up against the stupid stereotypes of the media, esp. when it's about the game i love =)
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    Era 3 months ago

    Well, sad to think about it, but could it be, that the NBA has an image problem because the NBA has a higher percentage of black players than every other major US sports league?
    I myself am not black but I wonder if there could be a connection between the false notion that most NBA players are thugs and the fact, that most NBA players are black...
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    borymvp 3 months ago in reply to Era

    hmmm interesting. does speaking AAVE(African American Vernacular English) make people more prone to think your a thug? I know for a fact it makes people think your less intelligent so it's not really a stretch. Plus, black american culture has those thuggish connotations to the pearly whites. As someone from Oregon I can tell you first hand race is how it works. We are white as sin and I remember how ironic it was when Sheed and Damon were "Jail Blazers" because they smies. When a black guy does it he's coked pot when Portland is just about at the top of the list of stoner citriminal , when white people partake they're just progressive.
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    RyanMcD29 3 months ago

    Very good read, just wanted to make some extra points and a few disagreements here and there.

    I do agree that the NBA's troubles are over magnified and everything. A few bad seeds are ruining it for everyone it seems. There's no doubt that some of the things people get antsy over are downright hysterical (see: the Knicks-Nuggets brawl. Geez that was nothing to be getting up in arms about at all).

    I do have to disagree to the extent of some of the incidents listed and how other leagues get a free pass. The media extensively covered the Bertuzzi incident as much as they did the Pacers-Pistons brawl, as they did a few years previously with the McSorely incident. The Mike Milbury in the stands incident was way back in either the late 70s or 80s so comparing the media reaction back then is apples to oranges these days with ESPN having 24 hour coverage, and I'm sure if that happened today there would be a ton of negative feelings towards the NHL. Also the Pistons/Pacers brawl really was the start of a lot of negative reaction to anything negative in the NBA. I mean I don't think you saw much outrage or debates over the Knicks-Heat brawls back in 98 and 99 as you did with the previously mentioned overreaction of the Knicks-Nuggets brawl and it probably got as much coverage as an NHL or MLB brawl did. Onto one other point, I think the MLB has done more damage to its image than the NBA has with its steroid mess, and I think the media and the public has agreed. A ESPN Sportsnation poll shows an overwhelming majority feels that performance enhancing drugs are more detrimental to a sport than guns. Plus I think the sports media has gone on more of a crusade on the "MLB players on steroids" angle than the "NBA players are thugs" one, granted it's a much more widespread problem.

    The other thing the NBA has going against it in a way is the number of players in the league are much smaller than their counterparts, which makes things become way more out of proportion than they seem when it comes to bad seeds. The NBA has around 15 players per team whereas the NHL has 25, MLB 27-40 depending on the year, and the NFL over 50 (the numbers are more than likely incorrect but are in the ballpark). That in part makes critics more likely to blast the NBA in a situation than the other leagues, though that doesn't make it any more right to do so. Which leads to my next point; is it me, or does the NFL get a free pass on everything? I mean, baseball players get blasted for steroids, basketball players get blasted for off the court issues. But the thing is, why doesn't the NFL get put under the microscope like their counterparts do when they have the same, if not more rampart, problems? For instance, don't tell me that the NFL didn't have a steroid problem. I don't think it's fair that the other big 3 leagues are always put on watch whenever a incident happens but the NFL more or less it's brushed aside, or at least talked about less than the others. Hell, even college football, where the public majority is blaming the QB who was sent into a locked room by himself as punishment for getting injured rather than the coach who ordered him to do so. I think there's too many double-standards going on with the sport of football in general. Now don't get me wrong, I still love football as much as anyone, but it is kind of alarming to see all these double-standards.

    All in all I think this does a good job of explaining that the NBA isn't the only one with their problems and that some of it has been completely overblown. You have a really good future as a columnist and I think this as well as your decade in reviews have proved it.
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    Joel Yinger 3 months ago

    Good article. You are a very good writer, and these types of articles are interesting to read. Just a quick correction, Bertuzzi did not break Moore's neck in a fight. It was a sucker punch from behind.

    It seems to me that the league that has the most off court/field/ice problems is the NFL.
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    InsideHoops.com 3 months ago

    Fun article. Might want to add some sort of "don't stop here; read on!" towards the top, because people have a short attention span and may stop reading after one or two paragraphs
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    James 3 months ago

    Fantastic write up.
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    Michael 3 months ago

    I gotta give you this: in trying to play the "but what about THEM" game, you've been very unintentionally funny in your use of context. I half-expected you to include the ump who was hit with a baseball bat in the early 1900s.

    Doesn't do much for SMW's credibility when you have to play so much defense for the NBA...
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    Paulsen 3 months ago in reply to Michael

    Considering that the 1998 Latrell Sprewell incident is still talked about, I see nothing wrong in bringing up these incidents from the other major sports -- all of which have taken place since 2000.

    You are free to have your opinion.
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    Josh 3 months ago

    This is probably the best argumentative story that I have ever read in my life.
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    johann bestowrous 3 months ago

    astonishingly sane article
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    llbplayball 3 months ago

    I believe you are confused about Pedro Martinez and blaming him for Manny Ramirez throwing the Red Sox assistant to the clubhouse floor in a dispute over free tickets Ramirez wanted. Pedro did throw a charging gerbil (and Yankee bench coach) named Don Zimmer to the ground during a melee in the midst of and ALCS game in 2003.

    But the most arrests in Las Vegas for a single non-New Year's Eve is owned by the NBA's showcase All Star Game held in Sin City a few years back. Thus dampening the citizen's enthusiasm in trying to gain a franchise for Vegas. That's all I need to know about the NBA's impact on society.
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    Unnamed Guest 3 months ago in reply to llbplayball

    And who had the highest-profile arrest during that All-Star game? Pacman Jones. Damn. The NBA's thuggery is so rampant it even gets players in OTHER SPORTS arrested. Whoa!
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    Paulsen 3 months ago in reply to llbplayball

    I was actually referring to the Martinez/Zimmer incident.

    On a separate note, how many NBA players were arrested during the 2007 All-Star Weekend?
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    Paulsen 3 months ago in reply to Paulsen

    One more thing. I find it interesting that you exclude New Year's Eve from your argument on the NBA's deleterious effects on society.

    New Year's Eve 2007: 130 arrests made in a 12-hour period. NBA All-Star Weekend: 81 arrests made every 24-hours (or just over 40 arrests in each 12-hour period). There were 302,000 people in Las Vegas for NBA All-Star Weekend and 300,000 for New Year's Eve.

    http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2007/Feb...
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    D. 3 months ago

    This is one of the best posts I've ever read. Very well put, Paulsen. I 200% agree.

    No doubt the Arenas situation is sad and embarrassing, but those ones who should be blamed are Arenas and Crittenton. Not the entire league. Like I said several times, for every player who gets in trouble you have countless players who never got in trouble before. If people don't think so it's because they don't pay enough attention to the NBA. As soon as they see someone getting in trouble they end up trashing the entire league.

    It's sad that the media mentions only those few ones who get in trouble and mostly ignore those players who behave themselves. Most NBA players have charity foundations and built hospitals (Mutombo), learning centers, donate money to needy people, visit homeless shelters. McGrady visited Darfur to educate himself about the crisis there and decided to start a foundation to build schools there. Or how about the NBA's Basketball Without Borders program to help friendship, education for young people from all over the world and bring them together through the game of basketball (for instance, they were able to bring together Israeli and Palestinian kids). Or NBA players organizing an exhibition game to help raise money for Hurricane Katrina's victims? Or the NBA itself having what was called the largest community effort in pro sports history during the '08 all-star weekend in New Orleans.

    And let's not forget to mention my favorite team, the Pistons, other than being one of the best organizations when it comes to help the community, even organize a telethon marathon each year to raise money for needy people before, during and after games.

    And on and on and on.

    Obviously the mainstream media rarely mentions those events and they only mention negative stuff leading people to believe every single NBA player is an animal ready to kill people, at least according to some (ok, many) idiots.

    I'm not saying the NBA is perfect and doesn't have troublemakers, I'm saying that it's unfair trashing the entire league based on the actions of a few idiots. Just because some players don't know how to behave themselves doesn't mean every NBA player is like them.

    Again, great post, Paulsen.
    FlagLikeReplyReply
    Reactions
    tinyroads 3 months ago

    From twitter via BackType

    Just got this from a friend. I know it's weeks old, but...NBA=thugs? http://bit.ly/5L63I5

    Shey, Jamaican of FF 3 months ago

    From friendfeed via BackType

    "The league has an image problem. It has an image problem not because of what actually takes place, but because of what observers have convinced themselves takes place. It has an image problem because every incident becomes part of a trend. It has an image problem because the league's first player-related scandal in three years has also resulted in its only mentions on cable news shows in three years."

    Matt Hilton 3 months ago

    From friendfeed via BackType

    I'd check it out Rod if I were you.

    Andrew C 3 months ago

    From friendfeed via BackType

    Yeah, it's one of those pieces with a surprise twist.

    Matt Hilton 3 months ago

    From friendfeed via UberVU

    I'd check it out Rod if I were you.

    Andrew C 3 months ago

    From friendfeed via UberVU

    Yeah, it's one of those pieces with a surprise twist.

    StephonJohnson8 3 months ago

    From twitter via BackType

    RT @asportsscribe SARCASM ALERT RT @paulsen_smw The NBA is full of thugs. And here's the rap sheet to prove it. http://tinyurl.com/yh6rpn3

    asportsscribe 3 months ago

    From twitter via BackType

    SARCASM ALERT RT @paulsen_smw The NBA is full of thugs. And here's the rap sheet to prove it. http://tinyurl.com/yh6rpn3

    phulcrum 3 months ago

    From twitter via BackType

    Great read about thugs in the NBA. Just trust me, read the whole thing. It's very entertaining. http://bit.ly/8OgT5y

    BullBearSock 3 months ago

    From twitter via BackType

    RT @ShamSports: going well until the DWill mention: http://sportsmediawatch.blogspot.com...heres-rap.html

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    The NBA is full of thugs, and here's the rap sheet to prove it
    The Gilbert Arenas situation has made it clear as day: the NBA has a problem.

    The league is "full of thugs," to quote Forbes editor Michael K. Ozanian. San Francisco Examiner writer Bob Frantz recently wrote that the NBA's "overly ink-stained players look like a bunch of gang-bangers playing in the recreation yard at Pelican Bay," following that up by saying that Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittendon had validated his opinion. Frantz: "A league filled with guys that look like thugs is bound to be filled with guys that act like thugs" (sfexaminer.com, 1/4/10).

    And they're absolutely right. Just take a look at the league's rap sheet.

    An NBA player was just released from prison after being involved in a murder-for-hire plot involving his agent. There's an NBA player currently serving a 14 year prison sentence for attempted murder, and another player serving a sentence for conspiring to murder his pregnant girlfriend.

    There are fights in NBA games on an almost nightly basis -- including one during the league's outdoor game earlier this season, its showcase event. Several years ago, an NBA player grabbed an elderly assistant coach by the head and shoved him to the ground during a melee in the Conference Finals. Five years ago, an NBA player threw a chair into the stands and broke a woman's nose -- just months after another player suckerpunched an opponent, breaking his neck.

    NBA players are unquestionably prone to violence. One player demonstrated to ESPN's Outside the Lines how he would handle someone who would attempt to mug him. "If someone's right here, ... and he's like, 'give me your wallet,' and he's got a knife. I'm like, alright man, let me grab my wallet," he grabbed his gun and laughed, "there it is. Now, he's got a chance to turn tail, or he's getting it. Better leave. If you think you can get me with that knife before I squeeze off three rounds with this, you'll be gravely mistaken." If that does not epitomize thug life, I don't know what does.

    An NBA player was arrested for domestic battery last year -- less than a year after his brother, a fellow NBA player, was sued for allegedly beating his pregnant girlfriend. The star of the NBA's championship team was sued for alleged sexual assault over the summer.

    And let's not forget the NBA player that murdered his teammate back in 2003.

    The fact is, the NBA has a problem. The league is filled with vile, criminal thugs. No other league deals with the kind of criminal activity that the NBA does. Not the NHL, not Major League Baseball -- and certainly not college basketball, where the players are uncorrupted by the money in the pros. Even the NFL has more upstanding citizens than the ...

    Hold on a moment.

    I'm receiving word that the aforementioned murder-for-hire plot involved NHL player Mike Danton. And that the person serving a 14-year prison sentence for attempted murder is former MLB player -- and member of the '03 World Champion Marlins -- Ugueth Urbina. And the person in jail for the murder of his pregnant girlfriend is the NFL's Rae Carruth.

    Also, I've been informed that the NBA has not had a brawl since 2006. To the best of my understanding, those nightly brawls I referenced earlier took place in the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball. Again, I apologize -- but who could blame me? It's not like you hear about fights in those leagues.

    Furthermore, the outdoor game fight took place during the NHL's Winter Classic, the player who shoved the elderly assistant to the ground was MLB player Pedro Martinez, the player who threw a chair in the stands was MLB player Frank Francisco, and the player who broke an opponent's neck during a fight was the NHL's Todd Bertuzzi.

    The Outside the Lines quote was made by MLB player Luke Scott, and the brothers involved in separate domestic violence incidents were MLB's Brian and Marcus Giles. And, apparently, the superstar sued for alleged sexual assault was the star of the Super Bowl champion Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger.

    Finally, it has come to my attention that the player who murdered his teammate in '03 was Baylor college basketball player Carlton Dotson.

    Huh. Boy, it's a good thing none of those other sports have image problems. Or those incidents would really have stuck.

    Okay, so the other leagues have their issues. But those are isolated incidents. Why judge Major League Baseball just because an elderly man was thrown to the ground and had to be taken away by stretcher, or just because a woman had a her nose crushed by a folding chair?

    And besides, that doesn't change the fact that the NBA is filled with unrepentant, preening, arrogant thugs. Just look at Jayson Williams, who killed his limo driver and continues to get into legal trouble. Sure, he hasn't played in the NBA in a decade, and he was retired when said incident took place, but he is still representative of the league as a whole. You know, the same way Jim Leyritz (arrested on DUI manslaughter after the death of a woman in '07, and then arrested in '09 on domestic battery charges) is representative of Major League Baseball.

    The Pacers/Pistons brawl is perhaps the best example of the NBA's rampant thuggery. Players going into the stands to fight with fans is unprecedented in the history of sports. Except for the time Bruins players went into the stands at Madison Square Garden. And the time Dodgers players went into the stands at Wrigley Field. But Pacers/Pistons was different. After all, as Mike Breen said, Ron Artest had a "scary look in his eyes." Mike Milbury was just having fun out there.

    The NBA's gun problem is another good example. Devin Harris estimated that 75% of NBA players own guns. Take a look at the list of NBA players involved in gun incidents in recent years: Jayson Williams, Sebastian Telfair, Arenas, Crittendon, Delonte West, Stephen Jackson, DeShawn Stevenson and Chris Mills. That's 9 whole players -- enough to fill an injury-decimated team -- and those are just the 9 we know about. It could be 25 or 50 of them for all we know.

    If 75% of the NBA owns guns, and the NBA has 400 players, then we're talking about 300 pistol-packing NBA thugs. Now, sure, 9 (or even 50) out of 300 is a fairly small fraction -- and one that would seem to indicate that the vast majority of NBA gun owners are responsible with their weapons. But just the fact that they have those weapons is a bad thing. After all, gun ownership is illegal in the United States. (ed. note, apparently, the right to bear arms is guaranteed in the Constitution. Who knew?)

    And guns aside, everyone knows that NBA players frequently get in trouble with the law. Remember that book by Jeff Benedict, "Out of Bounds: Inside the NBA's Culture of Rape, Violence, and Crime," where he found that 40% of NBA players have a police record involving a serious crime? Sure, his sample size was limited to 177 of the NBA's 417 non-foreign born players -- less than half. And sure, the book did not "disclose a detailed listing of his data" (New York Times, 6/15/04). And sure, as NBA Commissioner David Stern noted, the book lumped together those who were accused of crimes and those who were convicted (ed. note, apparently, there is indeed a difference between being accused of a crime and being convicted of one.)

    But who cares? 40 percent of NBA players! Rape, Violence and Crime! That's all you need to know. And sure, I could do an investigation into cable news, use Bill O'Reilly and Kiran Chetry as my sample size, and say that 50% of cable news hosts have been accused of sexual harassment. But that doesn't matter. It sounds true, doesn't it? It reinforces our preconceived notions.

    It doesn't matter what's true. It doesn't matter what goes on in other sports. It doesn't matter that for every Javaris Crittendon, there's Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and countless others. It doesn't matter that the majority of NBA players are more than likely law abiding citizens.

    The league has an image problem. It has an image problem not because of what actually takes place, but because of what observers have convinced themselves takes place. It has an image problem because every incident becomes part of a trend. It has an image problem because the league's first player-related scandal in three years has also resulted in its only mentions on cable news shows in three years.

    With that in mind, I, for one, will join my sportswriting colleagues -- from Terrence Moore and Michael K. Ozanian to Gary Thorne and Jason Whitlock before them -- in continuing to judge the league and its players based on stereotypes and innuendo. The NBA is full of thugs, and I think I speak for those aforementioned individuals when I say there's nothing you can say to make me think otherwise.
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  2. #2
    How are you here? Kegboy's Avatar
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    Default Re: NBA Image problem - what or who do you blame?

    I blame you, Buck. Just you.
    Come to the Dark Side -- There's cookies!

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    a
    Last edited by sweabs; 08-07-2010 at 05:53 PM.

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    Default Re: NBA Image problem - what or who do you blame?

    The players, Stern, and the media.

    The players for perpetuating the stereotype with acting like fools off the court and sometimes on it.

    Stern for putting out a less than stellar product to begin with and being fixated on individual stars rather than teams. Not to mention stuff that happens now wouldn't have warranted a foul let alone a suspension back then. See the NFL has more arrests than the NBA but they put out a good product that people still want to watch despite it.

    The media for their slanted coverage. An NBA brawl= Thugs, a brawl in the MLB= That's just showing spirit and a great rivalry.

  5. #5

    Default Re: NBA Image problem - what or who do you blame?

    Does football have this image, because it's just as bad?
    Baseball?? Rap music no, criminal charges...probably.

    Heck..even golf has problems.

    The truth is that give men a ton of money and power, and they'll act like dofuses. From your CEO to your NBA player..they become arrogant, and think they can do what they want.

    The NBA though, is too black to get a pass from the country. Rap music isn't more demeaning or disgusting than any other type of music, it's just black. Their image is a problem because being black is a problem. Look at Ben vs. Kobe in terms of the way the media treated them. Or hell, Ben vs. Tiger. It's hard to admit but we're still, as a country, very racist (although we hide it better) And that's where the league's problem is.

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    Default Re: NBA Image problem - what or who do you blame?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sookie View Post
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    Does football have this image, because it's just as bad?
    Baseball?? Rap music no, criminal charges...probably.

    Heck..even golf has problems.

    The truth is that give men a ton of money and power, and they'll act like dofuses. From your CEO to your NBA player..they become arrogant, and think they can do what they want.

    The NBA though, is too black to get a pass from the country. Rap music isn't more demeaning or disgusting than any other type of music, it's just black. Their image is a problem because being black is a problem. Look at Ben vs. Kobe in terms of the way the media treated them. Or hell, Ben vs. Tiger. It's hard to admit but we're still, as a country, very racist (although we hide it better) And that's where the league's problem is.
    Way to ruin a discussion there.... Sookie

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    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: NBA Image problem - what or who do you blame?

    I think the fact is that the general public does two things:

    1) first they think the NBA is full of thugs, so whenever they hear something regarding an NBA player they not only believe it out of hand, but they assign blame to the NBA in general. They do not do that with the other professional sports leagues.

    2) oops, I forgot my other point. Forget what it is, but it is better than my first one.


    I hear it all the time from family and friends and it just isn't about the Pacers it is about the NBA in general. They think the NBA is a thug league, how do I know they think this, they tell me. When I say what about the NFL they are just as bad if not worse, they just look at me like I have a screw loose.

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    Default Re: NBA Image problem - what or who do you blame?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gamble1 View Post
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    Way to ruin a discussion there.... Sookie
    Why do people run from the race discussion?

    If you want to discuss the NBA's image "problems" and "thug" culture you have to talk about race, or the discussion is shallow. Sorry.
    Last edited by Sookie; 04-27-2010 at 03:03 PM.

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    Default Re: NBA Image problem - what or who do you blame?

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    I think the fact is that the general public does two things:

    1) first they think the NBA is full of thugs, so whenever they hear something regarding an NBA player they not only believe it out of hand, but they assign blame to the NBA in general. They do not do that with the other professional sports leagues.

    2) oops, I forgot my other point. Forget what it is, but it is better than my first one.


    I hear it all the time from family and friends and it just isn't about the Pacers it is about the NBA in general. They think the NBA is a thug league, how do I know they think this, they tell me. When I say what about the NFL they are just as bad if not worse, they just look at me like I have a screw loose.
    True but the media and the public will give you a pass if you are fun to watch. The NBA to a lot of people is just not fun to watch.

    You know you have a problem when the NFL draft gets higher ratings than your playoffs.

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    Default Re: NBA Image problem - what or who do you blame?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sookie View Post
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    Why do people run from the race discussion?

    If you want to discuss the NBA's image "problems" and "thug" culture you have to talk about race, or the discussion is shallow. Sorry.
    Sookie, I agree with you 110% This conversation is worthless without dealing with the elephant in the room and that is RACE. I believe this conversation is worthy of sticking around as long as it is moderated properly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamble1 View Post
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    True but the media and the public will give you a pass if you are fun to watch. The NBA to a lot of people is just not fun to watch.

    You know you have a problem when the NFL draft gets higher ratings than your playoffs.
    That is true. But then why don't they just say they like football better than basketball. College football gets much higher ratings than college basketball, as does the NFL gets much higher ratings than the NBA. But a lot of people will claim to not watch the NBA because it is a thug league and yet they watch the NFL. So obviously the reason they don't watch has nothing to do with whether they are thugs or not, they just like football better

    The NFL draft has gotten higher ratings than the NBA playoffs for at least 10 years, so that is nothing new. The NFL average Sunday night ratings are higher than NBA Finals ratings, and higher than 8 of the last 10 NCAA basketball final game ratings.

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    Default Re: NBA Image problem - what or who do you blame?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roaming Gnome View Post
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    Sookie, I agree with you 110% This conversation is worthless without dealing with the elephant in the room and that is RACE. I believe this conversation is worthy of sticking around as long as it is moderated properly.
    Here I think comparing the NBA with the NFL is in order. I don't know the %'s in each league. But I think the NBA is around 90% black and the NFL is around 65-70% black, and if you take away the kickers and QB's (granted a lot of image of the NFL is based upon the QB's) they are pretty close. Why doesn't the race issue in the NFL cut like it does in the NBA.

    I can think of two reasons why it doesnt
    1) people just like football more
    2) the media coverage focuses on the thuggish behavior of NBA players and it sticks to all NBA players, where as thuggish behavior in the NFL only sticks to the individual players, not the league as a whole

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    Default Re: NBA Image problem - what or who do you blame?

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    Here I think comparing the NBA with the NFL is in order. I don't know the %'s in each league. But I think the NBA is around 90% black and the NFL is around 65-70% black, and if you take away the kickers and QB's (granted a lot of image of the NFL is based upon the QB's) they are pretty close. Why doesn't the race issue in the NFL cut like it does in the NBA.

    I can think of two reasons why it doesnt
    1) people just like football more
    2) the media coverage focuses on the thuggish behavior of NBA players and it sticks to all NBA players, where as thuggish behavior in the NFL only sticks to the individual players, not the league as a whole
    I think there are a few reasons

    As you said, the most popular, marketed, and seen as "most valuable" player in the NFL is the QB, who has a tendency to be white.

    Who are the most famous football players, Payton Manning and Tom Brady. ..who are not only white, but very wholesome looking.

    I also think appearance plays a big part in it. Unless you are heavily marketed, people can't really watch a football game and know what you look like. You see a uniform that comletely covers the body, and a helmet.

    So people tune into basketball, see the cornrows the tattoos ect..associate that with the NBA's image problem..and that's that. Why do you think Stern has done things such as making a dress code and such for NBA players? For the most part, NBA players are much more visible when playing their game.
    Last edited by Sookie; 04-27-2010 at 04:01 PM.

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    Default Re: NBA Image problem - what or who do you blame?

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    Here I think comparing the NBA with the NFL is in order. I don't know the %'s in each league. But I think the NBA is around 90% black and the NFL is around 65-70% black, and if you take away the kickers and QB's (granted a lot of image of the NFL is based upon the QB's) they are pretty close. Why doesn't the race issue in the NFL cut like it does in the NBA.

    I can think of two reasons why it doesnt
    1) people just like football more
    2) the media coverage focuses on the thuggish behavior of NBA players and it sticks to all NBA players, where as thuggish behavior in the NFL only sticks to the individual players, not the league as a whole
    Like the Basketball fan said. Stern promoted the individual over the team and in football its the team over the individual. Honestly I think people respect team mentality more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sookie View Post
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    I also think appearnace plays a big part in it. Unless you are heavily marketed, people can't really watch a football game and know what you look like.
    Totally agree. When you don't have an image its hard to have a problem with it.
    Last edited by Gamble1; 04-27-2010 at 03:32 PM.

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    sweabs
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    Last edited by sweabs; 08-07-2010 at 05:54 PM.

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    Default Re: NBA Image problem - what or who do you blame?

    I blame Nike.

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    Default Re: NBA Image problem - what or who do you blame?

    Quote Originally Posted by duke dynamite View Post
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    I blame Nike.
    Is he white. I bet he is.....

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    sweabs
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    Default Re: NBA Image problem - what or who do you blame?

    Seriously the only problem I have with the race card is that I can point to the NHL and no one is watching that either.

    On the flip side WWE is very popular with a bunch of white wrestlers.

    To me people watch what appeals to them. If hitting a guy with a chair is better than poking piece of rubber on some ice then people watch the wrestle mania.

    If the NBA did a one and done system like the NCAA tourney/NFL I would bet more people would watch it.

  25. #21

    Default Re: NBA Image problem - what or who do you blame?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gamble1 View Post
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    Seriously the only problem I have with the race card is that I can point to the NHL and no one is watching that either.

    On the flip side WWE is very popular with a bunch of white wrestlers.

    To me people watch what appeals to them. If hitting a guy with a chair is better than poking piece of rubber on some ice then people watch the wrestle mania.

    If the NBA did a one and done system like the NCAA tourney/NFL I would bet more people would watch it.
    The NHL doesn't have an image problem though.

    The ratings for the NFL probably have a lot to do with "games played" as well. Perhaps if the NBA only played 20 games a season, with single game elimination we'd have higher ratings.

    The NCAAs are hard (although my favorite) because I think people like to get attatched to certain players, and with the increase in treating college basketball like a business, the one and done ect....also, truth is, Duke brings ratings, and they haven't been to a final four since 2004 (when the real championship game was played in the FF Uconn vs. Duke) I think it might help both leagues if you weren't allowed to enter the NBA until you graduate college (or the year you should graduate college) People would learn about the best players, those players would learn college "fundamentals" and the NBA would have already marketed players started in this league.

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    Default Re: NBA Image problem - what or who do you blame?

    Quote Originally Posted by sweabs View Post
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    Well, since we're seemingly allowed to talk about race for once.....

    With regards to the discussion surrounding differentiating spectator preferences for football over basketball, it is worth noting that the NFL is comprised of around 65% Black athletes, compared to the NBA's 80+%...

    But I think one needs to look deeper than the statistics.

    The sport of football, in many respects, is still a very "mechanistic" and "machine-like" game. Players go out on the field, mostly abiding by White quarterbacks and White coaches (and White management, for that matter) and follow strict orders. There is not much room for improvisation within the sport of football as we see it - and those rules are enforced. As soon as a Black athlete wishes to articulate "style" and bring forth "entertainment" to the football realm (which stand in contrast to White hegemonic concepts for how sport "should" be played), they are swiftly punished by the (White) management. Play within "our" system, and follow the machine-like structure that is in place (and subsequently represents Whiteness). Such is the nature of the sport as we see it.

    Basketball, on the other hand, is a site for considerable contestation of these White values. And perhaps the people you are talking to, UB, recognize (consciously or unconsciously) a legitimate threat to the way the game "should" be played. Instead of fundamentals, teamwork, hustle, defense - we see these elements of style trickling through (fancy dunks, crossovers, improvisation, etc.). As such, the predominantly White audience who recognizes this visible "Black league" can pair this with the over-representation and articulation of Black NBA players committing crimes with the hope of justifying or rationalizing their position that basketball is no longer being played "right".
    So do only white people value structure? Do they value it more than anybody else?

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    Default Re: NBA Image problem - what or who do you blame?

    An example of a typical buttoned down, mechanical White NFL owner in public, demanding seriousness from his black servants with an iron fist:













    After all, he's white, so that must be true.

    Sorry, but I get really tired of throwing one race under the bus to defend another race.

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    Default Re: NBA Image problem - what or who do you blame?

    Does the NBA have the least players out of the big professional sports? I know I wanted to make a connection with the numbers here but it slipped my mind. Any help would be appreciated.

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    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: NBA Image problem - what or who do you blame?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gamble1 View Post
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    If the NBA did a one and done system like the NCAA tourney/NFL I would bet more people would watch it.
    Yes, the ratings would be higher per game. But if they did that there would be 15 games played every playoffs. Vs the approx 80 games or so they are playing now in the playoffs. Would the ratings be 5 times higher to make up for the loss, I doubt it.

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