The Rules of Pacers Digest

Hello everyone,

Whether your are a long standing forum member or whether you have just registered today, it's a good idea to read and review the rules below so that you have a very good idea of what to expect when you come to Pacers Digest.

A quick note to new members: Your posts will not immediately show up when you make them. An administrator has to approve at least your first post before the forum software will later upgrade your account to the status of a fully-registered member. This usually happens within a couple of hours or so after your post(s) is/are approved, so you may need to be a little patient at first.

Why do we do this? So that it's more difficult for spammers (be they human or robot) to post, and so users who are banned cannot immediately re-register and start dousing people with verbal flames.

Below are the rules of Pacers Digest. After you have read them, you will have a very good sense of where we are coming from, what we expect, what we don't want to see, and how we react to things.

Rule #1

Pacers Digest is intended to be a place to discuss basketball without having to deal with the kinds of behaviors or attitudes that distract people from sticking with the discussion of the topics at hand. These unwanted distractions can come in many forms, and admittedly it can sometimes be tricky to pin down each and every kind that can rear its ugly head, but we feel that the following examples and explanations cover at least a good portion of that ground and should at least give people a pretty good idea of the kinds of things we actively discourage:

"Anyone who __________ is a liar / a fool / an idiot / a blind homer / has their head buried in the sand / a blind hater / doesn't know basketball / doesn't watch the games"

"People with intelligence will agree with me when I say that __________"

"Only stupid people think / believe / do ___________"

"I can't wait to hear something from PosterX when he/she sees that **insert a given incident or current event that will have probably upset or disappointed PosterX here**"

"He/she is just delusional"

"This thread is stupid / worthless / embarrassing"

"I'm going to take a moment to point and / laugh at PosterX / GroupOfPeopleY who thought / believed *insert though/belief here*"

"Remember when PosterX said OldCommentY that no longer looks good? "

In general, if a comment goes from purely on topic to something 'ad hominem' (personal jabs, personal shots, attacks, flames, however you want to call it, towards a person, or a group of people, or a given city/state/country of people), those are most likely going to be found intolerable.

We also dissuade passive aggressive behavior. This can be various things, but common examples include statements that are basically meant to imply someone is either stupid or otherwise incapable of holding a rational conversation. This can include (but is not limited to) laughing at someone's conclusions rather than offering an honest rebuttal, asking people what game they were watching, or another common problem is Poster X will say "that player isn't that bad" and then Poster Y will say something akin to "LOL you think that player is good". We're not going to tolerate those kinds of comments out of respect for the community at large and for the sake of trying to just have an honest conversation.

Now, does the above cover absolutely every single kind of distraction that is unwanted? Probably not, but you should by now have a good idea of the general types of things we will be discouraging. The above examples are meant to give you a good feel for / idea of what we're looking for. If something new or different than the above happens to come along and results in the same problem (that being, any other attitude or behavior that ultimately distracts from actually just discussing the topic at hand, or that is otherwise disrespectful to other posters), we can and we will take action to curb this as well, so please don't take this to mean that if you managed to technically avoid saying something exactly like one of the above examples that you are then somehow off the hook.

That all having been said, our goal is to do so in a generally kind and respectful way, and that doesn't mean the moment we see something we don't like that somebody is going to be suspended or banned, either. It just means that at the very least we will probably say something about it, quite possibly snipping out the distracting parts of the post in question while leaving alone the parts that are actually just discussing the topics, and in the event of a repeating or excessive problem, then we will start issuing infractions to try to further discourage further repeat problems, and if it just never seems to improve, then finally suspensions or bans will come into play. We would prefer it never went that far, and most of the time for most of our posters, it won't ever have to.

A slip up every once and a while is pretty normal, but, again, when it becomes repetitive or excessive, something will be done. Something occasional is probably going to be let go (within reason), but when it starts to become habitual or otherwise a pattern, odds are very good that we will step in.

There's always a small minority that like to push people's buttons and/or test their own boundaries with regards to the administrators, and in the case of someone acting like that, please be aware that this is not a court of law, but a private website run by people who are simply trying to do the right thing as they see it. If we feel that you are a special case that needs to be dealt with in an exceptional way because your behavior isn't explicitly mirroring one of our above examples of what we generally discourage, we can and we will take atypical action to prevent this from continuing if you are not cooperative with us.

Also please be aware that you will not be given a pass simply by claiming that you were 'only joking,' because quite honestly, when someone really is just joking, for one thing most people tend to pick up on the joke, including the person or group that is the target of the joke, and for another thing, in the event where an honest joke gets taken seriously and it upsets or angers someone, the person who is truly 'only joking' will quite commonly go out of his / her way to apologize and will try to mend fences. People who are dishonest about their statements being 'jokes' do not do so, and in turn that becomes a clear sign of what is really going on. It's nothing new.

In any case, quite frankly, the overall quality and health of the entire forum's community is more important than any one troublesome user will ever be, regardless of exactly how a problem is exhibiting itself, and if it comes down to us having to make a choice between you versus the greater health and happiness of the entire community, the community of this forum will win every time.

Lastly, there are also some posters, who are generally great contributors and do not otherwise cause any problems, who sometimes feel it's their place to provoke or to otherwise 'mess with' that small minority of people described in the last paragraph, and while we possibly might understand why you might feel you WANT to do something like that, the truth is we can't actually tolerate that kind of behavior from you any more than we can tolerate the behavior from them. So if we feel that you are trying to provoke those other posters into doing or saying something that will get themselves into trouble, then we will start to view you as a problem as well, because of the same reason as before: The overall health of the forum comes first, and trying to stir the pot with someone like that doesn't help, it just makes it worse. Some will simply disagree with this philosophy, but if so, then so be it because ultimately we have to do what we think is best so long as it's up to us.

If you see a problem that we haven't addressed, the best and most appropriate course for a forum member to take here is to look over to the left of the post in question. See underneath that poster's name, avatar, and other info, down where there's a little triangle with an exclamation point (!) in it? Click that. That allows you to report the post to the admins so we can definitely notice it and give it a look to see what we feel we should do about it. Beyond that, obviously it's human nature sometimes to want to speak up to the poster in question who has bothered you, but we would ask that you try to refrain from doing so because quite often what happens is two or more posters all start going back and forth about the original offending post, and suddenly the entire thread is off topic or otherwise derailed. So while the urge to police it yourself is understandable, it's best to just report it to us and let us handle it. Thank you!

All of the above is going to be subject to a case by case basis, but generally and broadly speaking, this should give everyone a pretty good idea of how things will typically / most often be handled.

Rule #2

If the actions of an administrator inspire you to make a comment, criticism, or express a concern about it, there is a wrong place and a couple of right places to do so.

The wrong place is to do so in the original thread in which the administrator took action. For example, if a post gets an infraction, or a post gets deleted, or a comment within a larger post gets clipped out, in a thread discussing Paul George, the wrong thing to do is to distract from the discussion of Paul George by adding your off topic thoughts on what the administrator did.

The right places to do so are:

A) Start a thread about the specific incident you want to talk about on the Feedback board. This way you are able to express yourself in an area that doesn't throw another thread off topic, and this way others can add their two cents as well if they wish, and additionally if there's something that needs to be said by the administrators, that is where they will respond to it.

B) Send a private message to the administrators, and they can respond to you that way.

If this is done the wrong way, those comments will be deleted, and if it's a repeating problem then it may also receive an infraction as well.

Rule #3

If a poster is bothering you, and an administrator has not or will not deal with that poster to the extent that you would prefer, you have a powerful tool at your disposal, one that has recently been upgraded and is now better than ever: The ability to ignore a user.

When you ignore a user, you will unfortunately still see some hints of their existence (nothing we can do about that), however, it does the following key things:

A) Any post they make will be completely invisible as you scroll through a thread.

B) The new addition to this feature: If someone QUOTES a user you are ignoring, you do not have to read who it was, or what that poster said, unless you go out of your way to click on a link to find out who it is and what they said.

To utilize this feature, from any page on Pacers Digest, scroll to the top of the page, look to the top right where it says 'Settings' and click that. From the settings page, look to the left side of the page where it says 'My Settings', and look down from there until you see 'Edit Ignore List' and click that. From here, it will say 'Add a Member to Your List...' Beneath that, click in the text box to the right of 'User Name', type in or copy & paste the username of the poster you are ignoring, and once their name is in the box, look over to the far right and click the 'Okay' button. All done!

Rule #4

Regarding infractions, currently they carry a value of one point each, and that point will expire in 31 days. If at any point a poster is carrying three points at the same time, that poster will be suspended until the oldest of the three points expires.

Rule #5

When you share or paste content or articles from another website, you must include the URL/link back to where you found it, who wrote it, and what website it's from. Said content will be removed if this doesn't happen.

An example:

If I copy and paste an article from the Indianapolis Star website, I would post something like this:
Title of the Article
Author's Name
Indianapolis Star

Rule #6

We cannot tolerate illegal videos on Pacers Digest. This means do not share any links to them, do not mention any websites that host them or link to them, do not describe how to find them in any way, and do not ask about them. Posts doing anything of the sort will be removed, the offenders will be contacted privately, and if the problem becomes habitual, you will be suspended, and if it still persists, you will probably be banned.

The legal means of watching or listening to NBA games are NBA League Pass Broadband (for US, or for International; both cost money) and NBA Audio League Pass (which is free). Look for them on

Rule #7

Provocative statements in a signature, or as an avatar, or as the 'tagline' beneath a poster's username (where it says 'Member' or 'Administrator' by default, if it is not altered) are an unwanted distraction that will more than likely be removed on sight. There can be shades of gray to this, but in general this could be something political or religious that is likely going to provoke or upset people, or otherwise something that is mean-spirited at the expense of a poster, a group of people, or a population.

It may or may not go without saying, but this goes for threads and posts as well, particularly when it's not made on the off-topic board (Market Square).

We do make exceptions if we feel the content is both innocuous and unlikely to cause social problems on the forum (such as wishing someone a Merry Christmas or a Happy Easter), and we also also make exceptions if such topics come up with regards to a sports figure (such as the Lance Stephenson situation bringing up discussions of domestic abuse and the law, or when Jason Collins came out as gay and how that lead to some discussion about gay rights).

However, once the discussion seems to be more/mostly about the political issues instead of the sports figure or his specific situation, the thread is usually closed.

Rule #8

We prefer self-restraint and/or modesty when making jokes or off topic comments in a sports discussion thread. They can be fun, but sometimes they derail or distract from a topic, and we don't want to see that happen. If we feel it is a problem, we will either delete or move those posts from the thread.

Rule #9

Generally speaking, we try to be a "PG-13" rated board, and we don't want to see sexual content or similarly suggestive content. Vulgarity is a more muddled issue, though again we prefer things to lean more towards "PG-13" than "R". If we feel things have gone too far, we will step in.

Rule #10

We like small signatures, not big signatures. The bigger the signature, the more likely it is an annoying or distracting signature.

Rule #11

Do not advertise anything without talking about it with the administrators first. This includes advertising with your signature, with your avatar, through private messaging, and/or by making a thread or post.
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Beyond Endorsing: How Veggie Burgers became the NBA's New Gatorade

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  • Beyond Endorsing: How Veggie Burgers became the NBA's New Gatorade

    Beyond Endorsing: How Veggie Burgers Became the NBA's New Gatorade

    How do you sell veggie burgers as the new Gatorade—performance boosters that taste great? Beyond Meat's answer was to sign on stars like Chris Paul and Kyrie Irving as investors and "ambassadors." With the company booming, it's not only the food industry that's changing but also the NBA.
    By CHRIS BALLARD September 24, 2019

    This story appears in the Sept. 23, 2019, issue of Sports Illustrated. For more great storytelling and in-depth analysis, subscribe to the magazine and get up to 94% off the cover price. Click here for more.

    On the morning of May 2, JJ Redick was in Philadelphia, preparing for a playoff game against the Raptors; Kyrie Irving was in Boston, prepping for the Bucks; and Chris Paul was in Houston, readying to face the Warriors. By the end of the day, all would become rich. Or, since they are NBA players, incrementally richer.

    That morning, when the NASDAQ opened in New York City, one IPO skyrocketed. Its stock had been priced at $25, the top of the range determined by analysts. Trading opened at nearly double that, $46. By market's close the price had hit $65, making it the most successful major IPO since Palm Inc. debuted, in 2000. Within a month the stock hit triple digits. By July it had soared above $230 a share, a rise of more than 800%.

    The company was Beyond Meat, an El Segundo, Calif., producer of plant-based burgers and sausages engineered to taste and look like the real thing. The financial world wasn't sure what to think. Some compared Beyond Meat's CEO, Ethan Brown, with Tesla's Elon Musk, two charismatic founders endeavoring to change the image of products—veggie burgers and electric cars—long deemed deeply uncool. Others saw a bubble born of new-age optimism, part tulip and part Bitcoin. Regardless, anyone in on the IPO was sitting pretty.

    Among those fortunate few was a cohort of NBA players; in addition to Redick, Irving and Paul, investors included Victor Oladipo, Harrison Barnes and DeAndre Jordan, none of whom, it's safe to say, needed a windfall. Most weren't in it for the cash; rather, they are both converts and proselytizers. Some, like Paul and Redick, eat both plant and animal protein. Others, like Jordan—who was recently in New York hyping the Beyond Sausage Breakfast Sandwich at Dunkin' Donuts—have gone, as Redick says, "full vegan on us."

    The NBA connection makes sense, at least in one respect. Today's players are constantly seeking micro advantages. The Lakers traveled with a bone broth chef at Kobe Bryant's behest; LeBron James uses cryotherapy. If a plant-based diet really can extend a playing career—as Brown contends and many believe—then reducing meat intake is worth the trade-off.

    From another perspective, however, the idea that NBA players are now the face of veggie burgers represents a seismic shift—both in business strategy and in people's views on food, sports and masculinity.

    DeAndre Jordan
    Redick was one of the first converts. Raised in Roanoke, Va., in a largely vegetarian household, his mother, Jeanie, went back to school in 1993 to become a certified nutritionist. The family served meat once or twice a year, usually at the holidays. The rest of the time, grilling out meant frozen pucks: Boca Burger, VegeBurger, Gardenburger. Redick tried them all. He was not a fan.

    The underlying message stuck, though, through his years as a star guard at Duke and into the NBA: What you put in your body matters. Entering his late 20s, Redick began watching his diet more carefully.

    Around 2014 or so he met the then 42-year-old Brown, a huge sports fan and former athlete himself. Growing up, he had lived near the Maryland campus, where his father was a professor of public policy. He recalls haunting Cole Field House to watch Terps practices, marveling at Len Bias. Brown played three sports in high school and one season as a 6'5" small forward at Connecticut College before his knees betrayed him. By then, he was already eating vegetarian; he recalls teammates ribbing him during team trips to McDonald's because, well, that's what guys did back then.

    After graduating, Brown worked on the science side of clean energy, founded a nonprofit dedicated to land preservation and attended Columbia business school and a public policy grad program at Maryland. Interested in sustainability, he began to focus on diet, convinced that people would embrace a plant-based future—in the end, protein is protein. In 2009, he founded Beyond Meat. The first products hit stores within four years.

    From the start, Brown believed athletes were crucial to altering perceptions. He thought back to the 1990s "Got Milk?" campaign, which featured Bo Jackson and other stars reinforcing the connection between animal protein and performance. He needed to do that, but for plants. (Brown recalls that marketing experts told him he should instead target moms, as they did the shopping.) So he hired the guy who created that milk campaign, Jeff Manning. At first, Manning was skeptical—"I didn't quite know how athletes would fit into it," he says. While Brown really believed what he created was a form of meat, Manning thought it better not to identify it as such. After some back and forth they came up with a slogan aimed at both athletes and consumers: The future of protein.

    Brown's firepower, then and now, comes from science and history. Speak to him for more than a few minutes and he will take you deep into the weeds, expounding with great conviction upon the five core elements of protein, amino acids, lipids, vitamins, trace minerals, water, and the aging of cells and amino acid scores and then pivoting to Australopithecus Africanus and, eventually, gladiators. As in: Did you know the gladiators—who we can all agree were the most badass athletes ever—ate primarily beans and barley? And, in Brown's view, "NBA players are the modern gladiators."

    Now he just needed to persuade them to buy in. When he met Redick, he came prepared, bringing a Maryland sweatshirt in his backpack, thinking it would be funny. (Until Redick said, "F--- Maryland!" and Brown decided not to unveil it.) Redick didn't take much persuading. He liked the food—even those early-generation burgers looked and felt like burgers and tasted close enough. He signed on as a company "ambassador," receiving stock options.

    From there, Brown approached other athletes with the opportunity to invest, focusing on NBA players because of their recognizability. As with Redick, he pitched both ethical and environmental considerations and—crucially—the potential performance benefits. He talked about how the main ingredient in Beyond Burgers is pea protein, which digests more easily than meat, making you feel lighter. How the patty provides 20 grams of protein for 250 calories (it also packs 390 mg of sodium), comparable to a meat burger. How it's lower in cholesterol than beef. How it causes less inflammation in the joints. (A 2019 study in Nutrients journal supported the general concept, finding that plant-based diets "may present safety and performance advantages for endurance athletes," noting lower body weight, reduction of indicators of inflammation and cardiovascular protection.)

    The fact that eating other healthy, vegetarian foods—like, say, actual plants and beans and nuts—provides the same benefits without all the processing, calories and sodium is both true and, in this case, perhaps besides the point. Part of what attracted athletes was the allure and sheen of a new health product (not to mention a buzzy start-up). Salads are great; they're also boring. As for taste, well, best to form your own opinion. My omnivorous family was pleasantly surprised during trials of Beyond and its main competitor, the Impossible Burger (which switches out pea protein for soy protein and uses heme rather than beet juice to re-create the "bleed" aesthetic).

    Brown also told athletes they could proceed at their own pace as "ambassadors." No hokey ads. Nothing off-brand. Basically: Eat our stuff if you want, then spread the word how you want. Veteran center JaVale McGee was an early convert to eating the product and signed on as an endorser last year. Retired center John Salley was another early adopter—he signed on for 5,000 shares and began doing what John Salley does best: talking. "The agreements we have with them are not like, they must do this or that," says Brown. "We get to know them, we can see it in their eyes, the passion, whether they have it or not. And then it's, like, any details in a contract only get in the way."

    The timing proved fortunate. A new generation of consumers (and athletes) was emerging, interested in how diet affected not just their bodies but the world around them. At the same time, the days of mocking teammates for eating veggie burgers were fading. "I think that's a societal change in that there are a lot of pillars of masculinity that we're stripping down and have been for the last few years and rightfully so," says the 35-year-old Redick. "To use a phrase that I don't often use, the NBA is very much a woke league. It's at the forefront of a lot of things—training, fashion, food, diet. A lot of things that have happened in a macro way with society [are reflected in] these micro changes in the NBA."

    By 2018, the company had momentum. Irving came on board. So did Oladipo and Barnes. Jordan persuaded Paul to try Beyond; in an email interview, Paul told SI he has since converted his family, including his parents, and he feels like he recovers more quickly and has more energy. Last February the company put out its first major TV ad with Irving. The spot could be selling a shoe—for 50-odd seconds we see Kyrie training, Kyrie shooting, Kyrie dribbling. At the end, beyond meat appears, alongside the company's logo of a caped steer. (Irving later wore a Beyond hat during postseason pressers.) Paul's ad is similarly low-key: We see him shooting hoops with his son, then grilling out as he talks about modeling responsible behavior. It's a long way from the days when Larry Bird and Michael Jordan went off the Grand Canyon to sell McDonald's burgers (to say nothing of the days when Vlade Divac smoked cigarettes during interviews). While some players still plug less-than-nutritious products (Irving's deal with Pepsi even led to a movie), on a larger scale, it's indicative of a new ethos in the NBA. Once upon a time, making bank was the league's aspirational currency—Republicans buy shoes too, as MJ once noted. Now, awareness and its close partner, righteousness, rule the day.

    When the stock went bonkers after the IPO, players saw it as an unexpected bonus. "I don't think I could have predicted the success when I first became an investor," says Paul. Teammates and friends took notice too, suddenly hip to the vegetarian lifestyle. How do I get in? they asked the ambassadors. Says Redick with a laugh, "I told them it's a little late."

    By late summer, when Beyond peaked at $239 a share, the company bore a higher valuation than Viacom, Jet Blue and Molson Coors. Those 5,000 shares Salley had? They were now theoretically worth north of a $1 million. Neither Paul nor Redick disclosed how many shares they own, but it's safe to say they did quite well in the IPO.

    Meanwhile, plant-based burgers are having a moment. Chains like TGIF, Carl's Jr. and Whole Foods sell Beyond Meat, while Burger King recently rolled out its Impossible Whopper. Even KFC is testing "Beyond Fried Chicken" at an outpost in Smyrna, Ga. (McDonald's, the grand prize, remains unclaimed.) Beyond Meat counts Bill Gates, Twitter cofounder Ev Williams and Leonardo DiCaprio as backers—as well as a handful of athletes outside the NBA, like Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and former WNBA star Maya Moore—and Brown talks with a mixture of giddiness and reverence about the sports figures who come through his door. Cam Newton toured the facility. Mike Tyson's cannabis business moved in next door to Beyond Meat—Brown says they're now buddies. Every Wednesday, Beyond Meat's chef brings Tyson lunch.

    Who knows how long the glow will last. On the day I spoke to Brown, in August, Beyond Meat had just opened a window to sell secondary shares (and taken a bit of a beating in the press for it, as companies usually wait longer). Since then, the stock has dipped to around $150, as of mid-September. Like many start-ups, Beyond is not turning a profit. CNBC talking heads deemed its market cap "beyond ridiculous." And it's worth noting that, hype aside, the fake-meat business is still roughly 1% as large as the real meat business.

    Brown says he intends to keep athletes at the forefront of the company, calling them the "tip of the spear" and "the Trojan horse for our message." The players appear to be equally invested. Redick says that he hasn't sold any shares and doesn't intend to. Occasionally, he also marvels at how the very diet that once made him seem so uncool now does the opposite.