Who is to blame for the waiting game? While We’re Waiting

WFNYBanner www

WFNYBanner www

I’m usually pretty upbeat and happy to lead off my WWW, but I’m not having a lot of fun this week. It’s my own fault for caring about sports and I’m not anywhere as emotionally invested as I have been in the past, but as an observer I’m still feeling the pressure of the waiting game. This waiting feels like a job at this point.

*****

As we continue to wait for LeBron, is it safe to start the blame game for why things have gotten this crazy?

Is it the media’s fault? They’re the ones who keep sourcing reports and indicating percentage chances that LeBron is coming to the Cavaliers. They’re the ones who keep pushing deadlines on us based on information. They’re the ones who have reported about calls to the Bath police about ramped up security at LeBron’s home. Are the media to blame? I’d say so.

Is it LeBron’s crew’s fault? You have to assume that these people around LeBron who are well-connected in Northeast Ohio where they also grew up are many of the sources for the media. They’re the ones who likely know about travel schedules and phone calls to police. They’re the ones who are integrated into the system because of LRMR and Nike and Rich Paul and everyone else. Is it their fault? Probably.

Is it LeBron’s fault? I’ve read a lot of opinions that LeBron has no fault here because he’s kept quiet. As opposed to “The Decision” and that parade of teams into Cleveland for pitch meetings he’s been engaged in a personal process to figure out what’s best for him. While that’s all well and good, he’s not immune to the league calendar guiding free agency. Despite the fact that anyone can understand a personal reflection and soul searching, when the rest of the league is waiting for the first gigantic domino to fall, it’s hard not to blame LeBron James himself. It’s a league with a fluid salary cap and rules regarding transactions and player movement. Nothing that LeBron does is in some vacuum. So is LeBron James to blame? Yeah.

See? It’s everyone’s fault, to some extent. Unfortunately or fortunately for LeBron, he’s the only one who can end it. With great power comes great responsibility. Ultimately, there’s nobody else to look to to end this embargo. So blame the media. Blame LeBron’s crew. Blame anyone else you want as well. The fact that we’re sitting here on Friday with no new information is the responsibility of one man and one man only.

*****

That’s pretty much all I’ve got this week for WWW. Sorry to be so brief. I’m just so worn out. I will say though, before LeBron took over the sports universe (in the middle of the World Cup mind you) I had a really great podcast with Matt Moore from Hardwood Paroxysm. He’s had a history as a somewhat divisive person in Cleveland because he’s free with his opinions. It was a really cool conversation talking about what he does and his process. So if you’re a fan or even if you’ve been mad at Matt before I think it’s a really great listen.

*****

Finally, my musical selection for the week. Big thanks to Andrew for highlighting my album, but I won’t self-promote here again. Instead, I’m going to go with something really big and popular that got me excited this week. I love the new song “Chandelier” by Sia. We got into a long conversation on Twitter about whether it’s a good song or not. Kirk and Andrew were far less enthused by the song than I was, but I think I have to stick with my thoughts on this one. I love the mix of vocal effects and auto-tune with the absolute rawness during the choruses. I’m not a giant fan of overly effected vocals, but to contrast them with that rawness really is a cool production choice, I think. Plus, I will always love Sia because her song “Breathe Me” was used to absolute perfection in the final minutes of the series Six Feet Under.

  • Wow

    Well said Craig. I was excited Wednesday because I figured a decision was made. Now I’m indifferent because I think this might get dragged out until next week.

  • MrCleaveland

    The expectant, hushed crowds gather outside The Q looking roofward, waiting for the puff of white smoke, and praying that the Savior will appear and bless us.

    We will have forgotten all this angst by tomorrow, but, yes, it sure is annoying now. If James hoped to redeem himself for the way he treated us last time, he’s kind of making a hash of it now. What a buzzkill. But tomorrow all will be forgiven.

    Unless . . .

  • RGB

    ESPN has decided to read “the letter” ad nauseam today.
    They just can’t stand the thought of him returning to Cleveland.

    Notice they aren’t replaying Riley’s speech from the other day. ;)

    Quality people grow up and mature in four years.
    Unless you’re ESPN.

  • RGB

    Let’s just hope that the fans behave and move on peacefully, and don’t give ESPN any ammo to further lampoon us with.
    I personally think he’s going to sign a short term deal with that team down south, in order to see what the new Cleveland management is up to.

  • Typo

    What Lebron is doing is just proving the letter was correct. He is narcissistic, self absorbed, and an incredibly large man child. I am so sick of everyone waiting outside his bathroom to see how smelly his dump was, and then try and analyze if it means he is going back to Miami because he clearly digested shrimp. Screw Lebron. We have a great young team to follow next year. I don’t want that overly entitled thing ruining it for me.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    So much this… My brother in NY was commenting along similar lines, noting that media members often try to push narratives that fit with their own desires. They’d much rather go to Miami for stories than Cleveland. Cleveland as punching bags makes for easier storylines. Etc. etc. If there’s an angle for them to believe they can exploit, they’ll jump at it.

  • RGB

    They constantly hide behind the “We’re just reporting what the fans want to hear. The fans determine our content” card.
    The intelligent fans see right through their agenda, but the LCD pays their bills. ;)

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo

    Or camping out on someone’s lawn in anticipation of news.

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo

    I apologize for the lengthy rant in advance.

    “Are the media to blame?”: To the extent that they are reporting on the biggest domestic sports story in the land, no. It’s that time of year when the NFL has nothing meaningful to discuss (I mean, unless you’re desperate for more Hot Takes on Josh Gordon or John Pigskin or the name of the team in our nation’s capital. Personally, I’m good.), MLB is muddling through its entirely-too-long regular season (attendance talk, anyone? All-Star snubs that inevitably happen every year? Pass.), and the NHL is the NHL (I’m a fan, and even I don’t care much what’s happening right now). So, what? NASCAR? MLS? College football news that means anything? Good luck with those. The World Cup final and third place games are this weekend, and both feature a variety of interesting story lines. But the USMNT is long out, meaning what’s left just doesn’t offer domestic appeal like the NBA free agent season, starring the most talented and controversial player in the sport. Now, if you wish to blame the media for being entirely too willing to run with every “source”, or for trying to hard to be first instead of right, that I can get behind. Otherwise, they are just doing their job and giving people what they want (ratings/page hits/twitter follows and RTs don’t lie!).

    “LeBron’s crew?”: Stop. These are his family, friends, and long-time associates. Not a single one of them is under any obligation whatsoever to leak info or offer clues. In fact, if I’m James, and anyone did that, I’d see it as a gross betrayal of trust, and I’d be done with that person. Now maybe some are acting as “sources” here, perhaps with LBJ’s best interest in mind, but if so they are being manipulative and risk having ties cut later.

    “LeBron?”: This is just…nope. LeBron James has done nothing at all to deserve any frustrated blame in this situation. Yes, free agency has a start point. It probably has a deadline (anyone? I’m on a roll here and don’t feel like verifying). It has started, but it is not over. Just because every other player seems content to sit back and let LBJ steer things does not mean James is in the wrong. Just because he isn’t deciding at the speed with which outsiders believe he ought to doesn’t mean James is in the wrong. The decision he makes here will affect his legacy, his family, his friends, and his brand (for better or worse). For anyone to think that doesn’t deserve whatever time he wishes to take, especially since he’s not out there fanning flames in any way, strikes me as residual resentment of the player from last time this happened.

    Which brings us to where the blame in all this ultimately and almost exclusively rests: US. The fans. Now there have been calmer heads on these boards on social media and in the fandom at large content to sit back and let it all play out. It doesn’t mean we are indifferent or ignoring “news”, but that getting emotionally wrapped up in this nonsense AGAIN just doesn’t make a bit of sense. But the most vocal among us have been engrossed in plane tracking and airport photos and website design, getting themselves worked into a froth over anyone and everyone with an opinion and the ability to put it out to the world. HOW DID PEOPLE NOT LEARN THIS LESSON FOUR YEARS AGO?! For me, anyone wringing their hands and rending garments over this is getting exactly what they deserve for failing to do so. LeBron James will announce his decision when he is ready, be it via ESPN or twitter or his own website. And until then, everything is simply speculation, and ought to be treated as such.

  • RGB

    Cowterd is not only on his high horse today…but he’s riding it in his ivory tower.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Hear, hear!!

    Caveats: The media running constantly with sources who seem to be speculating more than giving over information with absolutely no credibility or responsibility bothers me. It’s not journalism unless you consider The National Enquirer journalism. There are a handful of responsible journalists (Woj, Withers, etc.) and a whole bunch of people who seem to be interested in the most re-tweets and face time on SportsCenter. You don’t need to report every speculative text from a guy who knows a guy as news. It’s not news, it’s one guy’s opinion.

    As for Lebron, if he’s legitimately undecided, that’s fine. If he’s truly just taking his time to announce for himself, to feel unattached for a bit or whatever, sure, whatever. If it’s strategic for other reasons, OK. If he’s just trying to build up a better story or otherwise just delaying? Shame on him.

  • saggy

    gotta say, though, that i get the feeling the NY media have been pushing for LeBron to return to Cleveland for a long time. I think the media/population here feel a kinship to the blue-collar midwest, and have always held disdain for “fake” places like Miami and LA. (I’m not saying those places are fake, just that it’s a lazy perception).

    Also, i can’t help but notice that there have been Cleveland stories in the NY papers almost daily for months because of the NFL draft and the LeBron stuff, and also the Indians and Yankees presently. There have been more Cleveland-based op-eds than in the NY Post than in the Plain Dealer!!

  • saggy

    yes. agree. especially: “”LeBron?”: This is just…nope. LeBron James has done nothing at all to deserve any frustrated blame in this situation.”

    it’s his life.

    is it his “fault?” yes, it’s his “fault” because his decision is holding other people up. But it’s like faulting a guy driving the speed limit on a winding, 2-lane road for going too slow just because you’re late for work.

  • saggy

    what’s he saying? I don’t watch that crap. (or is he on the radio? i have no clue)

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Well, that’s partly because the PD barely exists anymore. :P

    If NY media is pushing Lebron back to CLE, it’s not because of a kinship, I think. It’s a resentment/insecurity that he chose MIA over NYC [and the ‘storied’ MSG]. If he goes back, they can scoff at MIA again as still not being on their level – if he’d come to NY, he would never have left. CLE isn’t a threat to them because “Lebron is from there” (and Johnny couldn’t *choose* where to go first).

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo

    Agreed that it is quite the Richard move if LBJ is drawing it out for entertainment purposes, but the only evidence of that is what he did four years ago. It’s entirely possible that he’s that same person, but it’s just as possible that he’s struggling to decide.

  • RGB

    He’s painting Gilbert as an egomaniac (no arguement there) that wrote The Letter as a racially motivated rant toward “black” LeBron as if he “owned” him.
    And he’s painting us as a bunch a desperate losers, who live in a worthless midwestern city that have nothing better to do than stalk our stars and mine coal.

  • Garry_Owen

    Well . . . that pretty much nailed it. I’m just going to consider it the last word.
    Comment of the day/week/month/year, please.

  • Ezzie Goldish

    Agreed 100%. Like I said, if he’s legitimately undecided, that’s fine. You’d assume they learned from the past mistakes, especially as he’s said he has, but you never know, hence the caveat.

  • Garry_Owen

    Except . . . nobody’s late for work here.

    There’s dripping irony in people feeling entitled to hear what one man is going to do with his life, and then projecting that man as being entitled.

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo
  • Denny

    And yet you’re hung up on them.

  • eldaveablo

    Well, I wouldn’t say NOBODY is late for work. I have a feeling that Chris Bosh fills that role in this scenario. And I find it a little bit hilarious.

  • Garry_Owen

    A) He’s a free man to do what he will.
    B) It’s not like he’s going to miss out on a job.
    C) No games are being played, and there is no threat of games being played.

  • whosevelt

    Bar study bros, anyone else think of the Aguilar-Spinelli test every time Broussard or Sheridan invoke “league sources”?
    Non-bar study bros: In order to get a warrant based on informant tips (under the old standard, the Aguilar-Spinelli test) police must show two things:
    1. That the source of the information is reliable,
    2. The basis on which the source is relying.
    I think this would go a long way in filtering rumors.

  • RGB

    We’re all here for sport, are we not? Is WFNY the only place you get sports news from?
    Sports media is a source. It’s up to you to determine the veracity of each.
    Varying my info pool hardly qualifies as hung up.

  • RGB

    Are you talking about JFF?

  • saggy

    The racism crap really rubs me the wrong way. Maybe there is racism in Dan Gilbert but it ain’t inherent in that letter. That’s a letter about being publicly shamed and about losing $250 million dollars on your investment. Wouldn’t you be pissed off?

    I don’t really like Jason Whitlock but i really did enjoy his latest article on ESPN, which calls out all the people who say The Letter was racist. For me, his best work.

    man, that stuff just gets my blood boiling.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on LeBron himself. You say outsiders are discontent, but it’s not just outsiders. It’s insiders and stakeholders too. How do you think Houston feels today, just as an example? Maybe LeBron doesn’t have a responsibility to Houston, but how about Bosh? No responsibility there?

    Just because it’s his choice doesn’t mean he gets to take his sweet time as if it happens in a vacuum. It doesn’t happen without implications and consequences on people he should care about and he should know it, especially after how long he waited to commit four years ago.

    He’s got a responsibility to more than just himself. Period. Any argument that it’s all about him and only him is just something I will not entertain as being reasonable. Sorry. Can’t. Won’t.

  • nj0

    I’d add – I think the fans themselves are mostly to blame. Mini-rant: I have so many friends and acquaintances who complain incessantly about ESPN – their repetitious reporting, manufactured stories, annoying talking heads – yet consume as much of The Network as they possibly can. Watch, listen, breathe, live it. Turn it off. Ignore it. It’s not hard and will improve your outlook on sports, the media, and life immensely.

    As for the Decision 2014, I’m actually really enjoying all this intrigue and general silliness. And being annoyed by the amount of intrigue and general silliness? That’s part of the fun too.

  • Garry_Owen

    Aren’t we all?

  • RGB
  • Steve

    Excellent. I wanted to say the exact same thing. It’s on nobody but the fans.

  • Wow

    If he had really grown up he would have decided instead of playing around with two cities.

  • saggy

    yes. that one.

  • saggy

    As a proponent of the “Saggy Journalist Rating Scale” I uptick.

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo

    Fair enough then. But to answer your questions:

    The only team I could accept an argument as being owed anything by a free agent is the team that free agent just finished up with, obviously the Heat in this case. And even then I’d add the caveat that the parting between the player and team be amicable. If the guy has been counting down the seconds to get away from a situation he does not enjoy, then the obligation to consider that team’s interests goes out the window.

    As for considering other players? If LeBron wants to keep Bosh in the loop as a courtesy to a former teammate and (we can assume) friend, then great. But does he owe Bosh that? That’s between them. But he certainly doesn’t owe anything to non-Heat FAs. If they choose to wait in a holding pattern for him, that’s their call.

    LeBron James is responsible to himself, his family, and any friends he feels important enough to consider. Outside of that, it ain’t show friends, it’s show business.

  • nj0

    Every free agent who was going to go somewhere has gone. All club are experiencing Lebron Lock equally. And heck, these days waiting for The Decision are probably screw around days for personnel in NBA front offices. What else is there to do? It’s like a snow day in July.

    I really don’t know what responsibility he has to the Houston Rockets or Chris Bosh or anyone other than himself. Those people and organizations aren’t adults who take responsibility for their own actions? If they choose to wait for him to make his decision to act, that’s on them. I don’t know what Lebron owes to anyone.

    In fact, I’d argue that his delay is a net plus for the Association as a whole as it keeps them at the top of the newspaper.

  • http://twitter.com/bbo13 B-bo

    Couldn’t agree more on the ESPN stuff. Outside of live sporting events they cover that interest me, I don’t watch that family of networks, nor do I frequent their site save for score updates. And my life as a sports fan is, I believe, better for it.

  • nj0

    Not to drag politics into it, but I compare it to FoxNews (or CNN or MSNBC). They clearly have talking points and stories to push and do just that. I don’t see how anyone can stomach it for more than five minutes.

    I have to say though, I do find myself going to Grantland much more than I ever thought I would.

  • Tron

    That girl looks 10

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Fans behave? Look at that mess at his house I mean they all know he’s 1000 of miles away and yet they go to his house. Thankfully for the most part the majority of the people I saw weren’t what I called adults but still people, c’mon man!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Media 1000% followed by social media!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Fan the flames they gotta make this an even bigger skeptical it’s why for me the media is #1 on who is to blame. James will be on my list but since he’s never said a word it’s hard to fault him. Actually no one in his camp has said a word publicly to my knowledge so really it has to be the media.

    Btw anyone see the lead last night for Sportscenter where they had Broussard, Windhorst, Stein and the two hosts? At the end they asked for predictions on where LBJ would land. Windhorst was the only one not to predict and said he was choosing to be responsible and not play the game he was simply reporting what he knew. I thought that was rather interesting especially the “responsible” part.

  • Garry_Owen

    If his decision has implications for those he should care about, shouldn’t he take his time? Wouldn’t you? I would. I have.

    Because “we wants to know and we wants to know now!!!!!!!”

    (And when did Chris Bosh and the Houston Rockets become little children dependent on one 29-year-old man?)

  • whosevelt

    Someone will get rich one day by collecting sports rumors Hoopshype style, and sorting and ranking them by algorithm based on journalists’ records.

  • saggy

    It will probably be Steve