Jon Garfunkel: Easy Mark: The Elephant in the Locker Room. (I)t’s still immensely foolish as it is to ban someone from the lockerroom because they call themselves a blogger. If a cutoff is needed, I’d suggest one based on the old standby, circulation.
“Mark” is Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks franchise, and he’s decided bloggers aren’t welcome in the team’s locker room. Given his status as a popular blogger this is modestly hypocritical, but it’s his franchise to muck with as he wishes.
There is, of course, a space problem in any locker room. Only a certain number of people fit, and a team is entirely justified in limiting the number of reporters allowed inside. So how to decide which ones?
Circulation or viewership/listenership is one metric that’s workable — though a blogger in question in this case works for the big daily paper, making Cuban’s decision even more odd. The best metric, of course, is clout: What reach does the journalist have in a more general way? What audience does he or she have? If a blogger’s chief audience includes journalists who cover the team and the team’s most fanatical fans, that would seem to be a good person to have around.
Rank speculation: One possibility here is that many bloggers, such as Cuban, don’t follow other people’s rules of verbal decorum. Sports reporters often become fanboys (or girls) of the teams they cover, to the detriment of the journalism and fans. Maybe Cuban is worried, in part, of more serious journalism about his team and its famous follies.
Great headline, meanwhile, from the Deadspin blog: “Mark Cuban Dislikes Bloggers Who Aren’t Him.”