When the NBA entered the lockout, David Stern's office issued what is essentially a nuclear gag order, more of a "shun order" to members of the league office, coaches, team officials and staff. Basically, the first rule of lockout club is you do not talk to the players about lockout club. The league threatened a $1 million (note: one million dollars) fine on anyone who broke the rule and there's been concern that people like Rick Carlisle could get tagged for it.
Except when the league said that, it only really meant it in most situations, or ones they're not aware of. More specifically, they meant it for situations where the owner isn't present. Because apparently otherwise, it's fine.
A prime example:
But while Heat stars James, Wade -- recovering from Lasik eye surgery and sporting shades, both pictured below with Bosh -- and Juwan Howard were seated in an area separate from the suits', they later mingled on the dance floor with team GM Pat Riley, coach Erik Spoelstra, vice president Nick Arison, the son of Heat owner Micky Arison and former Heat all-star Alonzo Mourning, who now works in player relations. They got special permission from the league to attend the glitzy bash together.via NBA lockout put on hold as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Miami Heat execs celebrate Chris Bosh's wedding in Miami - NYPOST.com.
One guest said, "The players were on one side of the ballroom, the executives on the other, and later they met on the dance floor."
Good to see the NBA gave its blessing for the Rockets to attend Kevin Martin’s wedding and Yao Ming’s retirement announcement.via NBA schedules out Tuesday — whether they’re needed or not | NBA | a Chron.com blog.
Martin was married to his longtime girlfriend Jill Adler last weekend and with the league’s permission, Daryl Morey and Gersson Rosas were permitted to attend.
They did, however, have to be careful not to make too much small talk with the athletically gifted members of the guest list.
So pretty much if there's a wedding, you can mingle with those on the other side of the iron curtain that's been dropped. It helps if an owner's involved. You can meet but only if there's the chicken dance, the Righteous Brothers, or Lil Wayne involved. But seriously, no talking!
On the one hand, it's nice that the league can differentiate between personal and business. On the other, it's pretty typical that the league says there are no exceptions to the burden of its iron guantlet, except when it says so.
More importantly (or not), though, how awkward would that conversation be?
"Hey, person who pays my bills except he just locked me out of my job because he wants me to take a drastic paycut?"
"Hi there, employee who I've stonewalled and who has launched a P.R. war against me and my colleagues in pursuit of denying me what I feel is the only way to profitability in the business I run which pays him?"
"Absolutely! Try the punch!"
"... Well, I gotta go, see you, you know, around."
"Yeah, it was good, er, seeing you."
/awkward hand shake
How bizarre must that have been? Of course, by the time they had five or six rum and cokes I'm sure they were more chummy.
Hey, wait a second.
Guys! I have an idea for how to end the lockout!