Thursday, April 29, 2010

Basketball Star Fined for Blog Comments

Dwight Howard, who plays center for the Orlando Magic, was fined $35,000 for complaining about the officiating in a recent game - on his blog. This is the second time Howard has been fined for negative comments made on his blog; the first time, he was fined $15,000.

While the NBA is overlooking the matter from a censorship standpoint, The Weirding is not. The NBA commissioner says the fines are meant to stop coaches and athletes from complaining about officials, because it "erode[s] fan confidence." Fines have been levied against complainers for speaking-out against calls and referees, so - from that standpoint - it makes sense that they should extend to blogs and comments made elsewhere.

However, this is definitely a matter of censorship.

I have often discussed what constitutes censorship and what does not, as it is a popular term to throw-around whenever someone is silenced, especially online. But disallowing certain language or discussions in particular forums does not constitute censorship. To some extent, it can be argued that the NBA has a right to disallow criticism of the officials as part of their business - that is, if you are employed by the NBA, it is a matter of your job to not discuss your displeasure of games' officiating in public, regardless of the manner in which you communicate (be it blog, newscast, newspaper,, but when you stand back and view this concept from afar, it most certainly is censorship! In fact, it's one of the best, and most straightforward, examples of censorship I've seen in a long time.

To say that you cannot criticize a governing authority without facing some penalty is pretty much the definition of "censorship"! I agree that the commercial aspect of this complicates things somewhat, but isn't the idea the commissioner is forwarding basically the same one governments who censor their citizens give for their actions? Chinese officials do not allow citizens to criticize the government because it erodes the citizenry's confidence in their government - right?

Is it okay to censor employees if their comments can be construed as "bad for business"?

© C Harris Lynn, 2010

1 comment:

  1. i agree it is about censorship! and no body reserves the right to what others may discuss about. basketball fans are free to discuss on whatever they please. here's a nice post for those who are interested in the game