Rome offends Stern, Stern cracks back: A tasteless and contentious interview for the ages

I’ve long been a fan of David Stern.

These days, I’m probably in the minority, what with him moving teams from city to city to suit his needs or siding primarily with the owners in the recent lockout, but Stern’s actions, or more specifically his words, demonstrate that he may have finally gone off the deep end, his impending retirement from the game he’s managed for three decades not coming a moment too soon.

In a recent interview with Jim Rome, the radio host asked the commissioner whether the latest NBA Draft was fixed.  Sports fans have asked that question ever since the New York Knicks landed the draft rights to Patrick Ewing back in 1985.  This year, a team in desperate need of some draft love, the New Orleans Hornets, a team currently owned by the league, landed the rights to the top draft pick, most likely Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, despite not having the greatest odds of doing so.

So when Rome asked whether “the fix was in,” a question that Stern thought was out of line, or which he thought questioned the integrity of his sport, Stern took offense, and blasted back with a question he felt was equally as offensive and ludicrous:  whether Jim Rome had stopped beating his wife.

The interview continued on with the normally unflappable Rome taking offense when Stern suggested Rome was looking for a ‘cheap thrill’ by asking the draft question.

Personally, I would have cut the interview short the moment the NBA Commissioner suggested I beat my wife but Rome continued on, with the conversation getting progressively more heated.

I don’t think it’s too much to ask those in positions of authority, such as Stern, to act in a civil fashion.  In fact, I’d go so far as to suggest that Stern owes Rome an apology for even hinting such a heinous act of a man who has never been remotely accused of such.

Or maybe that’s the problem.  Perhaps Stern has served in his commissionership for so long that he’s out of touch with reality, or at least, it appears, common decency.

There is no denying Stern’s role in building the NBA into what it is today.  Of course, he also had Michael, Magic and Larry to make his job easier but he definitely knew how to market them, both nationally and abroad.  His sport is still in great shape.  These Heat-Thunder NBA Finals are among the most watched ever.  Much of this is Stern’s doing.

But for the commissioner of a major sports league to take offense to a journalist’s question, then fire back with a tasteless and unfounded question of his own, shows it might just be time for him to ride off into the sunset, and hopefully issue Rome an apology before doing so.

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24 Replies to “Rome offends Stern, Stern cracks back: A tasteless and contentious interview for the ages”

  1. Pingback: Rome offends Stern, Stern cracks back: A tasteless and contentious interview for the ages - BallHyped, NBA | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. Jim Rome makes me sooo happy. I’ve always known that Stern was a slimy fuck and I can’t wait until that asshole is history. To me, he’ll always be the Reichsfuhrer.

  3. You and I have gone back and forth on Stern for years now, Snake.

    I’ve always credited him for building the sport into what it is today. But this was too much. For a guy who’s always careful about what hes says, this is a huge gaffe.

    Too bad there’s no one to fine him, huh?

  4. Stern makes a comment like that to a reporter, and yet there are no calls for his head?????(I suppose as head of the league it would be a bit much for him to suspend himself). Maybe Kurt Busch is in the wrong profession. If you can get away with making comments like that to reporters, then maybe Kurt should be Commission of the NBA.

  5. Thanks, Beag.

    From everything I’m seeing, no apology yet from the commissioner, and this is a guy who’s heavy hand has fined his players hundreds of millions of dollars for saying something not nearly as insensitive.

  6. You prefaced this in reference to 1985 and Ewing going to the NY Knicks… That marked the end of my following the NBA. I was a Warriors fan. They had, bar none, the absolute worst record in the NBA going into the ’85 draft and should have received the No. 1 pick in the draft… So what does the NBA do? They initiate this lottery bull shit that they can (and do) control behind the scenes… What a dirty deal and Ewing winds up in what city??? New York… What a set up… I have not watched a single NBA game since. Period. End of story… Jim Rome was right on the beam…

  7. I wonder what Jason Kidd’s take is on this issue. Wife beaters (perceived or real) have to stick together. LOL

  8. Snake…

    And what of Chuck Finley, the old Indians pitcher?

    Wasn’t he physically and violently abused by his spouse, Tawny Kitaen.

    Poor guy probably had it comin’.

    Dude, how about these Finals?

  9. Funny take on Jim’s next interview with Stern at Check it out!

  10. I don’t really like Rome’s opinions that often, but do like his interviews as he seems to ask good questions more often than not. I was pretty shocked when I heard the interview the first time. Stern is supposed to be the level headed guy, and Rome even said he didn’t believe the accusations, but wanted to ask the question for his listeners, which is fair. Once he moved the Zombie Sonics I lost all respect for him, and for $10M or so a year I think they can find a better replacement at this point…

  11. chappy 81

    Stern earns in excess of $20 million a year (incl bonuses ) . ‘nough said . Selig has been averaging ‘tween $18m -$23 million annually for the last six years at least .

    The NBA and MLB have and will remain a complete joke ! But yet there are fans still believe both sports still has some purity to it . How so ?

  12. Al…

    I’ve never thought of Rome as having an agenda. If anything, he’s one of the few radio sports show hosts that doesn’t.

    He doesn’t cowtow or kiss the ass of his guests. There’s always a mutual respect. But even if he did, there’s still no reason for Stern to react in the manner he did.

    Re: the Rays, Al, I’ve kind of put baseball on the back burner while the Finals are going on, but hopefully a home stand against the Marlins who they previously swept in Miami, will get the off the snide.

  13. Yeah, the whole thing was quite odd, Chap. From everything I’ve read on the topic, regardless of whether you like Rome or not, most feel Stern went a touch over the top.

    Still no word of any apologies, public or private.

  14. I give Stern credit for moving the needle on the NBA and raising it to the heights it has achieved (i.e. his early years) but to me every time I have seen the guy interviewed in the last five years or so he has been speaking from an altitude no one should ever think they are working at. He talks down to everyone. He is not only the smartest man in the world, he is the only one with any intellgence whatsoever. At least he is consistently obnoxious. I give him that. This interview didn’t surprise me a bit. I heard after the fact that the phrase Stern invoked was somehow acceptable at one point (in the Dark Ages?) when you were asked a question where any answer would prove “fatal.” I apparently wasn’t alive when Stern’s response to Rome’s question was an acceptable retort that what was being asked would cause “guilt” by answering, a no-win position…so you were apparently allowed to come back with Stern’s question to put the questioner in their place. Regardless, I did recheck the calendar and it is 2012. His response to Rome’s question was and is unacceptable in today’s reality no matter who said it, let alone an aging, pathetic egomaniac. As for Rome, he knew who he was interviewing and he went down that road anyway. He got what he deserved…and probably wanted. I like Rome but he of all people knew just by booking the NBA Commish he would be on the defensive. He’s just not smart enough to have a conversation with Stern. No one has been for years now.

  15. Chap…

    What do Goodell and Selig make? Don’t they make nearly that much as well?

    And I’m betting those three buy the dinners when they all go out with Bettman.

  16. SA…

    I think Stern has to at least feel somewhat apologetic about his comments. The problem is he’s too proud to admit it publicly. He’s the boss and it’s his way or the highway, has been for some time now.

    As for Rome, his new show on CBS is horrible.

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