NBA rejects Cuban's ban on bloggers

David Stern gets it, if Mark Cuban doesn't. The NBA commissioner has told the Dallas Mavericks owner that he cannot ban bloggers from his team's home locker room.

Sometimes the grownups have to take control. Good for the NBA.

As for Cuban, he continues to demonstrate an almost laughable cluelessness about modern media, in general, and blogging, in particular -- this despite the fact that he has a deep background as a technology entrepreneur and writes a popular blog.

Here's what Cuban told the Dallas Morning News about the NBA's reversal of his foolish and short-lived ban:

Cuban indicated he believes bloggers should be treated equally, regardless of affiliation.

"Which means we will encourage all bloggers to apply, whether they be someone on blogspot who has been posting for a couple weeks, kids blogging for their middle school Web site or those that work for big companies. We won't discriminate at all."

Sounds reasonable enough, but ...

He then cautioned that locker room time, which translates to access to players, may be divided.

Physical and time constraints are real ... and the players, generally speaking, would rather go to the dentist than talk to reporters. No problem there, either.

But Cuban couldn't leave well enough alone.

Cuban indicated he believes bloggers should be treated equally, regardless of affiliation.

"Which means we will encourage all bloggers to apply, whether they be someone on blogspot who has been posting for a couple weeks, kids blogging for their middle school Web site or those that work for big companies. We won't discriminate at all."

"We will try to work it out so that all bloggers come in as a group after credentialed media. This will help us manage the crowds should there be quite a few bloggers."

Wrong. He continues to insist on treating blogging like some sort of communicable disease instead of merely another way to communicate. What's remarkable is that he can't seem to understand why that is wrong.

Of course, sports teams need to discriminate in order to determine who gets access and who does not; you can't have a thousand people in even the Dallas Mavericks cavernous locker room. The basis of that discrimination, however, should have nothing to do with the means by which a writer (or broadcaster, podcaster, whatever) communicates to his or her audience. It's the audience that should be the basis of the discrimination: Does the writer have one? Is it large or tiny? Is it one the team believes needs to be served with access to the locker room.

"Fairness" for the sake of fairness really ought not be part of the equation, because it's irrelevant to the conduct of the business, and, ultimately, to service of the audience as a whole. Fairness will take care of itself if the Mark Cubans of the world will simply stop trying to micromanage delivery mechanisms.

(Update: Cuban's latest on the matter here.)

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