David Stern makes me sick. This task has not been quick or easy for him.
He has seemingly carefully cultivated an image in recent years designed to illicit this nauseating sensation, and his comments to Jim Rome in a recent interview are his magnum opus in this regard.
Rome asks Stern if the draft lottery was fixed. Deadspin has audio of the interview. "I have two answers for that. I'll give you the easy one—no—and a statement: Shame on you for asking," Stern responded.
Rome was then careful to justify his question, which really wasn't that hard, as people all over have been tossing around the possibility of the lottery being fixed.
Was Rome right to ask the question of lottery fixing?
The past two years have added a tremendous amount of fuel to the draft-fixing fire. The Cavaliers landed the No. 1 pick last year. That was following their first season after LeBron James' departure, and they got it despite a 13.8 percent chance of doing so.
This year, the circumstances were even more suspicious, as the NBA-owned New Orleans Hornets landed the top pick despite having just a 13.7 percent chance of winning the top slot.
Now, this doesn't mean the lottery is fixed, but it certainly is a reason to speculate that it is, and that is exactly what people have been doing and that is exactly why Rome asked the question.
Yet after Rome tried to explain that to the commissioner, he responded by asking Rome, "Are you still beating your wife?"
Do you approve of Stern being commissioner?
Wait, what? Did the commissioner of the NBA actually just compare Rome asking him a question that countless people have been debating to blindly throwing out a question of spousal abuse? Yes, he did.
Obviously, Stern wasn't trying to say Rome is committing domestic battery; he was trying to make a point. However, did he need to use spousal battery?
That is a bit too much, and insensitive to people who really are going through that terrible reality.
And that is not even taking into account that the question was justified in the first place. Fixed or not, the circumstances have made it fair game to speculate. By refusing to even acknowledge that, Stern comes off as arrogant and out of touch.
Believe it or not, Mr. Stern, but you are not above reproach.
Yahoo's Adrian Worjnarowski issued a report after the lottery discussing the perception of draft-fixing. He added this on the Hornets landing the No. 1 pick:
The reaction of several league executives was part disgust, part resignation on Wednesday night. So many had predicted this happening, so many suspected that somehow, someway, the Hornets would walk away with Davis.
When you have a report by a reputable journalist hinting that executives in the league knew the lottery would be manipulated, the question becomes legitimate.
Stern doesn't want to acknowledge any of this. He wants to act as if he is above the clattering noise. He is not, and to top it all off, he did it in an insensitive and tasteless way.