Globe publishes pure spin from NBA Players Association director Michele Roberts

RobertsThe Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn interviewed NBA Players’ Association executive director Michele Roberts and got nothing but spin. So he published it.

Look, I feel for sports reporters. There is so much fan appetite, so much space to fill, and so little content.

But everyone knows negotiators want to negotiate, are willing to compromise, and say they negotiate in good faith. That’s spin, not content. Any statement whose opposite could not possibly be true is bullshit, not news. Like these, from the article:

Roberts said she views the $24.9 billion war chest from the nine-year television deal as a positive. [More money is good, yes.] 

“We want a deal. We want a deal that is as fair as we can get. We understand you’ve got to give a little to get a little,” she said. “… There’s all this money. The game is growing in popularity. Everyone should be singing, ‘Hallelujah.’” [A negotiator who wants a deal and money? Great!]

“Wouldn’t it be great for everybody, the players, for the owners, and God knows the fans, if we could say these were the major issues that we knew we had to deal with and we saw no reason to wait until 2017, so we got them done? … Wouldn’t everybody just be delighted? It would be great for the game.” [Yes, indeedy, nobody wants a work stoppage. But I’ll bring it up just to remind you what happens if we don’t get what we want.]

“I give the commissioner the benefit of the doubt,” Roberts said. “I believe he will try to get the best deal he can for the owners and I fully expect him to know that I will try to get the best deal I can for the players. That should not create hostility because as a lawyer I’ve always understood that my ‘opponent’ is representing [their] client the best they can, as I do.” [Before the negotiations, you believe your opponent’s a good guy? That’s so nice of you!]

“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t do something, if not spend the entire day, preparing for these negotiations.” [It sure is nice to hear that you are doing your main job.]

What’s missing: Any comment from her negotiating partner, NBA commissioner Adam Silver. And some analysis of how the negotiations will go.

Could you say it shorter? Here’s my TL;DR version:

Michele Roberts, representing NBA players, wants her share of the $24.9 billion, 9-year TV deal the NBA just scored. She’s very nice, she’ll ready to start negotiating with Adam Silver right away, and she isn’t afraid to threaten to shut down the NBA.

When you read a quote from a public figure, ask why she said that. Save time; delete the spin.

Full analysis in this Google Doc.

Photo by Susan Walsh/AP

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