This afternoon @NBA announced that Commissioner David Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver would be fielding questions about their current CBA proposal, starting at 7PM EST via Twitter. Don't know of this ever happening before, a professional sports league taking to social media to express their point of view, so it was an event worth watching. What is wasn't was an event that accomplished its objectives, whatever those were.
Winning converts to their position would have been a reasonable objective. Even preaching to the choir would have been somewhat of a win. This Q&A session accomplished neither.
Social media is a tricky thing. As much as we all benefit from being able to read interesting nuggets that were previously concealed, it can turn on those who don't know how to handle the power of a truly open forum. Tonight, the NBA chose to drink from the fire hose and got a little wet in the process.
Update 11/13/11 10:44 PM PST: NBA's Twitter account posted its message to players and full proposal here.
Jump it for more....
First, they answered questions without re-tweeting the original question. Instead of a real conversation, it was the NBA spewing its talking points. Nobody is fooled by that. We see that this isn't a legitimate dialogue, and nothing more than a glorified, simplified, slightly arrogant press release from the league.
Once they got that figured out, it was apparent that they only fielded the questions they wanted to answer. It wasn't like our forum here, where anybody can (justifiably) point out my errors, and I can try to refute it. Instead, it was more like a Harlem Globetrotters/Washington Generals game, where the outcome is in the bank before they throw the ball out for play.
I agree that the players should accept the current deal. But the only way they will do that is by the league extending an olive branch, not the point of a bayonet. This Q&A session didn't do that at all, and probably only exacerbated player discontent. Players Dwyane Wade and Spencer Hawes expressed their disgust with the NBA's badly aimed PR campaign. Said Hawes:
@spencerhawes00: still doesn't answer my question. Btw Median salary is 2.3 and there are 160 guys (and climbing) on minimum deals. Thoughts?
@dwaynewade: Now yall all see the answers-- we the Players have been receiving..
Yes, we do. It's like talking to a brick wall. Doesn't matter what legitimate concerns are brought up, the talking points will be spoken regardless. That's no way to have a conversation.
The NBA did itself no favors tonight. Players don't have much choice but to accept the deal on the table. Still, pride is a powerful force, and the owners' actions tonight didn't win hearts and minds. They came across as heavy-handed and imperious and, if anything, were counterproductive.
The full @NBA Twitter feed from tonight can be found here. Your thoughts?