It’s time to talk about a sports fine once again. Man, it sure seems like every other day I see a headline about an athlete/coach/owner getting fined for something. Everybody is getting knocked for something!
This time it was the Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. But he was fined for something that has caused great outrage and controversy.
Cuban was fined $600,000 by the NBA Wednesday for saying recently that his Dallas Mavericks, who have an 18-40 record, plan on “tanking.” Commissioner Adam Silver said the fine was for “public statements detrimental to the NBA.”
As we know, the NBA is very sensitive about tanking right now. They don’t want a perception that teams in their profit sharing league are intentionally trying to lose. Simply put, they don’t want ticket sales and revenue to decline for those given teams. Let’s take a look at what Cuban specifically said:
He was speaking on a new podcast hosted by Julius Erving, “House Call with Dr. J,” when he talked about how he tries to be as “transparent” as possible with his players and coaches, he said the following: “I’m probably not supposed to say this, but I just had dinner with a bunch of our guys the other night, and here we are, you know, we weren’t competing for the playoffs. I was like, ‘Look, losing is our best option,’ ” Cuban told Erving.
Cuban continued to explain, “Adam [Silver] would hate hearing that, but at least I sat down and I explained it to them. And I explained what our plans were going to be this summer, that we’re not going to tank again. This was, like, a year and a half of "tanking", and that was too brutal for me.
“But being transparent,” Cuban continued, “I think that’s the key to being kind of a players’ owner and having stability — you’ve got to communicate.”
Cuban was literally telling his players that losing is their best option. This clearly infuriated Adam Silver who never wants to hear such a statement.
But here’s the thing… we all know teams tank. The Sixers are a prime example. Some teams feel the need to rebuild by stockpiling draft picks and building from the ground up. The strategy can be a good one, but it is also frowned upon by the league.
But if everyone knows it’s happening, should it really matter if an owner verbally admits to it? Should they be fined $600,000 for simply saying what everybody already knows?
It certainly seems a bit sketchy. I commend Cuban for being honest and transparent with his players. They need to know the truth. However, I also understand why Silver doesn’t want these comments to be verbal and made public. He thinks it casts a shadow on his league.
Cuban set an example for owners across all sports leagues. If you are going to tank, go ahead, just don’t verbally admit to it because you will get fined.
Tanking is a very polarizing and sensitive subject in the world of sports right now. Especially among league commissioners.