Open Letter To Mark Cuban

In case you missed it (and I seriously doubt that), Mark Cuban is at the center of controversy once again.  Mark has issued a blogger-free policy for his Dallas Mavericks locker room.  ESPN has the initial report:

"My choice, my decision," Cuban said, adding that he hasn't discussed it with the league office. "We brought it to their attention after the fact. I think they recognized, look, it wasn't a blogging issue, it was a space issue. If you run out of space, you've got to put the velvet rope somewhere. So what do you do? Do I say, 'Oh, you're major media, you can get in and little mavsforum and mavstalk and mavswiki, you can't get in?' I'm not going to do that." 

Mark followed up on his blog and summarizes:

So post my little newspaper rant, it comes down to something very simple. A blogger is a blogger is a blogger and there are millions of us. . The name on your check, if you get a check, is irrelevant. BlogMaverick, Belo, xyz.blogger.com, we is what we is, and as long as there is limited space in our locker room, we is going to be outside in the Press Interview room getting comments

One last little thought. Some out there will take this as my not "liking" blogs. Ridiculous. its the exact opposite. What I don't like is unequal access. I'm all for bloggers getting the same access as mainstream media when possible. Our interview room is open to bloggers. We take interview requests from bloggers. I'm a fan of getting as much coverage as possible for the Mavs. What I'm not a fan of is major media companies throwing their weight around thinking they should be treated differently.

The above quote is a big distinction because it's not that Mark Cuban doesn't want to credential bloggers, he just doesn't want them in his tiny-sized locker room.  I don't know about the rest of you, but the fact that this issue boils down to semantics has me questioning the genuine nature of the argument from both sides.

Let's go to Henry Abbott from TrueHoop before I pen my open letter to Mark Cuban (also posted previously in the comments section of his blog).  Henry has all the angles covered:

Journalists who spend plenty of time in the Dallas locker room swear to me that Dallas has more room than many around the league, and space is not a notable issue. And the blogger in question has been credentialed thus far without crippling space trouble. During the NBA Finals, that locker room served reasonably well with many times the number of people it has to serve for a regular season game.

Nevertheless, let's take Cuban at his word that space is the overriding issue, and in the big picture the team is fretting about how to keep numbers down.

The way I see it, teams have two choices in dealing with the ever-changing media landscape.

  • They can make it their business to follow everyone who matters who covers their team, and after doing some homework, credential all the most relevant and important ones in accordance with space needs.
  • Or they can keep numbers down by discriminating by medium. Which sure seems odd.

I have had credentialed access to the Celtics locker room for just over a year now and I would like to think that I have carried myself in a professional and responsible manner.  I have done so with the hope that I might somehow be a small part of the drastic change that is currently happening in the world of sports media by setting a good example and leaving the door open for others in the future.  I am suspect of both Cuban's and the mainstream media's interests and I assure you it is not the future of blogging.  With that in mind I put forth the following open letter to Mark Cuban in response to his blog posting linked above. 

Dear Mark,

Don't you think that both you and the mainstream media are using the blogging community as a tool to facilitate your own agenda against one another.  Neither your argument, nor the one presented by the mainstream has anything to do with blogging.  It is a battle between an owner and the mainstream media that is taking place on the blogging battlefield.  You both are recruiting troops to fight this battle for you, but neither you nor the mainstream media cares about bloggers in this particular situation - this is a special interest battle.  Please leave us out of it.

Kindly,
Justin Poulin
Celtics Stuff Live

P.S. - I do a live weekly webcast on the Celtics, have press credentials, and podcast a recap of every game.  Not all bloggers are created equal and it is your responsibility to determine credibility and viability of the media who cover your team.  You have the right to make the call against any and all bloggers as you wish and I respect that the decision is yours, but if your argument is genuine, then I think you are lazy in regards to the lack of attention you wish to pay the issue.  You could be leading the way, and instead you are copping out behind a "simple" solution.

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