Friday, July 1, 2011
Everything must go
By Chris Forsberg | @ESPNForsberg | Email
Celtics.com ScreenshotsAmidst the collateral damage of the NBA lockout sits official team websites, which were hit with the news recently that all images of current players had to be removed from team sites by July 1. That meant a site like Celtics.com, which had been featuring stories from Monday's rookie introduction of JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore was forced to remove all those stories and replace with generic content. Heck, even a tiny picture of Kevin Garnett in the team's banner had to be plucked. ESPN.com's Kevin Arnovitz explains more:
Even this little Kevin Garnett image in the banner had to go from Celtics.com.
That's because the moment the clock strikes midnight on the current CBA, all those images and videos of NBA players have to disappear off NBA-owned digital properties. Depending on how you interpret "fair use," the prohibition could include the mere mention of a player's name on an NBA-owned site, though different teams have different interpretations of this particular stipulation.
Over the past few weeks, NBA website administrators and support staff have endured two-hour conference calls and countless planning sessions to figure out how to eliminate all these photos, highlights, articles and promotional features from the sites.
There are additional gray areas that are still up for discussion: What about a photo of a Lakers fan wearing a No. 24 Kobe Bryant jersey? What about a retrospective feature on the John Stockton-Karl Malone Jazz teams? Do tweets from the team's official Twitter feed that mention a player and/or link to an image need to be deleted? How about Facebook posts?
Nobody seems to know for certain the definitive answers to these questions and the criteria seem to be arbitrary. According to more than one team website staffer, the cutoff for images of retired players right now stands at 1992-93 -- Shaquille O'Neal's first season in the league. And social media is an area they're still grappling with as the deadline approaches.
So what can we expect on team sites during the lockout? As Arnovitz writes, "Lots of dancers, mascots and charity events."