Not since the days of big jewelry, brawls and the Portland “Jail Blazers” has the NBA faced such off-court image problems. And the bizarre part is that none of the ruckus is over the league’s proposed performance-enhancing drug test or steroids of any kind.
Unlike baseball, that wasn’t the NBA’s problem. The issue was other drugs — particularly the ones deemed recreational.
We’ve had Lamar Odom’s alleged cocaine use, J.R. Smith’s marijuana suspension and Michael Beasley’s marijuana arrest. And let’s not forget the pockets of domestic violence attributed to everyone from stars like Ty Lawson to bench-warmers like Jared Sullinger (assault and battery) and the recently-released DeAndre Liggins (kidnapping).
While commissioner David Stern chooses to focus on monitoring every player’s on-court moves with the league’s new motion-tracking cameras, sites like TMZ and People have been stalking every offseason move they make. That could be a problem for the NBA — and for the commissioner-in-waiting, Adam Silver.
With more and more people migrating to blogs, players are bound to be under the attack of unnamed sources and sites looking to expose them for traffic. As a result, it would be beneficial for Silver to find a way to jump out in front of this problem before he takes over for Stern during midseason.
For those of you who may feel like now is a bit early to address the situation, you must remember that even the new Atlanta Hawks coach was arrested for DUI suspicion, so the problems are actually league-wide. This summer has been a bad one for the NBA fraternity, but a couple of good deeds could save everyone from getting grouped in with the bunch.
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