Under The Microscope: The Actions Of Robert Rowell

Joel CreagerCorrespondent IOctober 15, 2008

Recent Warriors headlines have me worried for our budding team.  The Warriors stand with the Sharks as the only two legitimate Franchises in Northern California (here come the flames).  The Kings, the Raiders, the 49ers, and the Giants, and even the A’s are consistently and predictably laughable.  I include the A’s because even though they are always competitive, they regularly trade away all their talent, and say they are “Rebuilding.”  I don’t know how many times I have heard the A’s management say that they are rebuilding, but if they keep saying that then the only thing they will be rebuilding is their fanbase.  Although as it stands the A’s are certainly the more respectable of the two baseball franchises, and they are competitive.  Just that they are tiring their fans with new faces, so they don’t get my vote (gotta love Frank Thomas though).  

Enough about all the Bay Area teams that are excluded from the party.  Two out of six successful franchises is bad enough, and I’m all about holding onto what you’ve got.  Even the Warriors are laughed at by fans around the league, but the energy from crowds at Oracle Arena and sports bars around the Bay Area speaks for itself.  The Warriors still have pride coming from a fanbase that for most part, or until recently, agrees with the team’s decisions.  Especially since the Warriors play such an exciting and unique style.  So my ultimate hope is that the Warriors can at least hold onto a winning season, and then build on that to be competitive for round 2 of the playoffs by about the 2010-11 season. This is a delicate phase for the Dubs, and they are walking on thin ice over a sea of obscurity that kept them cold for years.

After seeing many of Robert Rowell’s quotes in Janny Hu’s interview with him, and reading Monte Poole’s latest article in the Contra Costa Times (both linked below), I became much more concerned for what seemed like a bright future for the Dubs.  The focus of my concern actually has little to do with Rowell’s final decision concerning Ellis, which is heavy handed but fair.  What worried me is the process by which the decision was made, and the manner in which that process was revealed. 

Robert Rowell made it very clear to the public that he did exactly the opposite of what Nelson and Mullin advised.  Now to me that would be like Chris Anderson showing up to a press conference to put his past behind him, and then at the end he pulls up his sleeve and says, “Check out the smiley face I made with the needle.” Exactly, it is screwed up, and it should never happen.  One thing that I learned in almost every single job I have held is that the customer (in this case the fan) only sees the product, and not the process.  Once the customer is invited to see the process then the product is subject to an entirely different standard of critique.  That is getting a little obscure so let’s simplify things.

Why would Rowell openly state his disregard of Nelson’s and Mullin’s opinions when the problem is with Monta Ellis?   Why didn’t he take the diplomatic route and say that he considered their opinions, but that this was fair considering the breach of contract?  There is really no point in throwing your head coach and GM under the bus.  Unless you realize that both Nellie and Mullin are in the last years of their contracts.  Rowell has suggested that both of them, and especially Mullin, are under scrutiny.  That is odd considering the team has seen an increase in both depth and potential over the last four years.  An increase that is readily recognizable, and appreciated by the fans.  Now we are floundering in the dregs of the NBA for a point guard to lead a serious set of scorers when we could have had Davis for another three years.  Rowell denies this in his interview with Hu, but it is pretty much common knowledge that his intervention in that deal was the prologue to the unfolding drama we see developing today.  

So again, why would Rowell publicly expose the conflict between him and his employees?  Speaking from experience there are many telltale indicators of a bad employer or a poor manager.   You know you have a terrible boss when the work environment turns hostile immediately before during or after the review period.  Your boss is even worse if they let the customers know (again the fans in this case) about that hostile environment.  So what does that say about Rowell?  It says that he is publicly fabricating an image and a standard by which to make his future decisions regarding Nelson and Mullin.     How Al Davisesque. 

In this case the turnout of fans, the revenue that they generate, and the win/loss ratio are the primary indicators of success for Mullin and Nelson.   Those are the results that Rowell should be focused on.  I don’t think Rowell has much to complain about in any of those three categories.  If he is upset at the point guard situation this year then he need look no further than the mirror to find fault.  If Rowell is trying to gain public leverage against Nelson and Mullin for later negotiations then he is a fool because both Nelson and Mullin have already proved themselves to the Bay Area both on and off the court.

      The bottom line is that the Bay Area likes Mullin, Nelson, and most all of what they’ve woven into the fabric of the Warriors’ past.  Rowell, with his self-debilitating public comments, his loss of Baron Davis, and his developing image as a vindictive, shortsighted employer are all turning him into an evil dream catcher.  An evil dream catcher that catches all the good dreams of the fans, coaches and players just to suck the lifeblood out of them.  What a way to make an entrance into the spotlight of the public eye. 

So as a Warriors fan, as a Bay Area sports fan, as a human being, I beg of you Rowell, PLEASE don’t be the bad guy.  Rowell, if you need inspiration to become an enabler again then just go talk to some fans about what they want to see in the Warriors’ future.  They know what they want.  Do you know what they want?  Most fans I am sure would provide some fresh perspectives, and if you are lucky then they won’t recognize you………. Yet. If you aren't ready for this then just let Mullin and Nelson do their jobs so that we can finally have a team in the Bay Area that is worthy of such great fans.

This is my first article ever. So it is a little rough, but thanks for reading.  I'd appreciate any feedback.


Articles Cited

Monte Poole:  “Warriors could be derailed by Rowell's power play”


Janny Hu: “Rowell Speaks… and speaks and speaks…..”


Image taken from:


Shameless Disclaimer

****Also, I apologize to Bay Area fans that feel like I have unfairly judged their team.  I tried to not just group the teams by the size of their fanbase, but by the attitudes that the fans have towards their own teams based on talk radio and my own perceptions of their chances at success.  For instance the Raiders have a huge fanbase, but they are insane in the same way that they are hopeless.  The 49ers fans are always easy to poke fun at themselves.  And again, A’s fans should know better than to get too excited.  I’m looking forward to the flames.****