Blog Entry

Stern on Gumbel: 'It's an occupational hazard'

Posted on: November 8, 2011 2:51 pm
Posted by Royce Young

I would think that when David Stern heard that Bryant Gumbel called him a "plantation overseer" that he wasn't thrilled about it. Just a hunch.

But when it happened, that was when Stern would out with the flu and so Adam Silver was forced to be the one to respond to it. Silver simply called it "outrageous." We never really heard from Stern on it.

Stern was on ESPN Radio New York Tuesday doing another Lockout Media Tour and the question was asked to him what he thought of Gumbel's comments. And Stern basically let it roll right off his back.
“On Bryant Gumbel I think that’s just an occupational hazard. If you’re the head of the league you take what everyone dishes out. With respect to the players, what I tell them is I have been working for 27 years and this partnership that we have had and will have after this ends will continue to, you know continue to grow the game globally, we will continue to have a huge digitally footprint, we will continue to make them stars of international magnitude but I understand when passion is running high and the well has been poisoned by people telling them the owners are lying to them, the owners are greedy, the owners are arrogant and none of that is true by the way.

(Host: They haven’t been saying that just about the owners. They have been saying that about you.) I guess what I’m saying is if I’m leading the way for the owners that’s what they’re going to say about me too. I must tell you the good job that I’d like to think I’ve done for the NBA only works if it’s good for the owners, the players, and the fans. We’ve had a heck of a run. I feel pretty good about the fact that we’re coming off a great season, there’s a continued interest, the demise of our league was premature, and we have a spectacular product which is brought to you by the spectacular players of the NBA. When we settle this it will continue to be brought to you that way.”
"Occupational hazard." What a way of putting it. And he's right. When you're the man at the front of it all, you take the brunt of everything. The criticism, the praise, the downright mean comments -- it's all coming at you. And Stern's always been great at handling it.

Gumbel came with strong words. He wanted to make a splash. He wanted to catch attention. Stern could've called him out on it, but instead, he lets it roll off with a simple description of it just being part of the job.
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