The ironic insanity of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban banning bloggers from his team’s locker room reminds me of this: While Cuban is a thousand times smarter than me, he’s also a billion times times more sensitive.
It’s rare you’ll hear me getting empathetic toward Dallas’ Only Daily, but for Cuban -- who 50 years from now will be considered one of the Founding Fathers of Blogging -- to draw a virtual line in cyberspace is as baffling as it is wrong. Right? The Los Angeles Times and its blog's readers certainly think so.
Citing a shrinking of space in Dallas’ locker room – and, please, the place is palatial -- the Mavs suddenly, inexplicably this week banned writers who are exclusively bloggers, setting off a firestorm of retorts on, fittingly, blogs. Adding to the surreal scenario, Cuban, of course, explained the wobbly rationale on, you guessed it, his own blog.
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In summary: He’d be more accommodating of a reporter who writes for a New Braunfels paper than one who types for a New York Web site? Very. Doubtful.
Look, this is a liquid era of sports journalism. Changes are being made and rules are being crafted kinda on the fly. There's no clear-cut answer as to who or what gets access through Cuban's velvet rope. There are obvious differences between a print publication-news destination outlet and a blog, and between a professionally backed blog and a dude’s hobby run out of his basement. Like most newspaper blogs, Unfair Park doesn’t replace the Dallas Observer more than it accessorizes it. When I'm at a Mavs game, I'm both gathering quotes for a column and harvesting notes for potential blog items. It’s our version of the informal, conversational online media most experts believe is the future of sports journalism, if not journalism altogether.
The NBA appears to be looking into the murky matter, but a couple things are clear: Cuban has transformed Tim McMahon into a martyr. And this just might be the owner’s worst decision since way back when he traded half the team and all the future for Jason Kidd.
Don’t get me wrong, Cuban remains a genius. One with a thick wallet and thin skin. One who’s picked a really, really awkward time to throw a cyberwrench into the blogosphere. --Richie Whitt