Attention to those confused: You can own the team. Not the player.And you can do and say what you want, just know there are consequences.
Golden State Warriors part owner Mark Stevens apparently didn't get the memo when Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry jumped into courtside seats for a loose ball, and Stevens shoved him and allegedly told Lowry to "go (f---) yourself" in the fourth quarter of Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
He got the message when the NBA banned him for a year and fined him $500,000. Now, the fine is a drop in the bucket for a billionaire, but the punishment is more severe than what Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban received from the NBA last year for the sexually charged and hostile work environment women had to endure for years within his organization
Yet it still isn't enough, and it certainly wasn't enough for the players when the announcement was made following Thursday's media availability.
Players from the Warriors and Raptors seemed satisfied with the temporary steps the league had taken to that point, as statements from the Warriors and the league indicated further investigation was necessary before a ruling.
Who cares if Stevens were liquored up or charged up during a highly emotional NBA Finals? What if Lowry, being in a heightened emotional state and in the midst of competition, had retaliated?
In the eyes of the public and everyone there, he would've been wrong for defending himself because he, as a player, is held to a higher standard.Players have to endure fans taking liberties verbally because they bought a ticket and feel as if it's open season when they are within earshot.
It's not a stretch to see someone with infinite wealth taking a similar tact, and if nothing else the league needs to be sensitive to the optics here.
"And I can say for sure that guy makes me feel like that," Lowry said when asked if he agreed with Green's suggestion about the word "owner" being removed.
"Mark Stevens, whoever his name is, makes me feel like he's one of those guys. Draymond with that, I remember him saying that. I believe it's true.
We call it the ‘Board of Governors,' but people in the world would call it the ownership. It should be changed. And a guy like that definitely shows that's what he feels, to me."
Owning a team is not like owning a house or car or piece of property. That property doesn't walk and talk the way NBA players do, and even though they are paid handsomely they are often shuffled around like chess pieces in a cold business that draws billions of eyeballs every year.
It's the covenant the two sides enter into, one that's supposedly born of respect for the other's attributes.