Commissioner David Stern
The National Basketball Association
645 Fifth Ave
New York, NY 10022
Dear Commissioner Stern:
The Society of Professional Journalists, the nation’s most broad-based journalism advocacy organization, hopes that you will fully investigate Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s new media policy, which bans full-time bloggers from the team’s locker room.
Clearly, this decision is not in the best interest of Dallas Mavericks fans who support the NBA by attending games and looking to news organizations and NBA.com for game highlights. Deciding who can have full access and who cannot has the potential to compromise game coverage and overall community reputation. Additionally, the new policy contradicts language on the team’s season media passes that allows full access to all media areas, including locker rooms.
Mr. Cuban states that his decision to ban full-time bloggers from the Mavericks locker room was one made because of space considerations and fairness to other media. Bloggers are somewhat new to the media landscape. However, their rights as a member of the media are just as important as their traditional counterparts. To simply ignore them or to push them out of important places would be a terrible step backward.
In addition, this media policy coming in the wake of a critical blog posting by this particular journalist is suspect. Allowing this kind of management of the league’s teams only perpetuates the notion that professional sports organizations are attempting to control media coverage.
We ask that you work with Mr. Cuban to help him recognize how his recent decision is compromising the stewardship of his franchise and the sport before it affects the relationship between the team and the media who cover them. SPJ leaders would be more than willing to help in reaching a resolution that benefits all parties and recognizes the true relationship between sports organizations and the journalists who cover them.
If we can be of service, please contact me at (615) 301-9229 or email@example.com.
Society of Professional Journalists
Cc: Brian McIntyre, Vice President, Basketball Communications
Mark Cuban, Owner, Dallas Mavericks