The NBA has directed the Dallas Mavericks to re-open their locker room to full-time bloggers with credentials.
That's hot news for Tim MacMahon of the Dallas Morning News, and bit of a eureka for sports bloggers everywhere.
A league has piped up for you. I think that's a nice bit of leadership on the part of the NBA, for which I am grateful.
However, it's not all good news. There's one crazy little caveat, which is a little hard to believe.
As these discussions have unfolded, a few people suggested to me that if the NBA were to force Mark Cuban to allow bloggers in the locker room, Cuban would then let dozens and dozens of bloggers in, just to make a mockery of the policy.
Each time I heard that theory I said there was no way. That was just too outlandish.I was wrong.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who contended the team's locker room was not large enough to accommodate all bloggers, accepted the league's edict but added a caveat. Via e-mail, Cuban said the Mavericks will open their locker room to all credentialed bloggers, regardless of affiliation. Mavericks credentials are issued by the team.
Cuban indicated he believes bloggers should be treated equally, regardless of affiliation.
"Which means we will encourage all bloggers to apply, whether they be someone on blogspot who has been posting for a couple weeks, kids blogging for their middle school Web site or those that work for big companies," wrote Cuban, a blogger himself. "We won't discriminate at all."
He then cautioned that locker room time, which translates to access to players, may be divided.
"We will try to work it out so that all bloggers come in as a group after credentialed media," Cuban wrote. "This will help us manage the crowds should there be quite a few bloggers."
Wow. So, anyone who has had a blog for a few weeks is in, with no discrimination whatsoever.
(There's actually some irony here. Plenty of people suspect this whole thing was really born of Cuban's admirable desire to protect his coach and/or players. Opening their locker room to , essentially, the general public before and after every home game hardly seems to do the trick.)
I actually suspect that not all that many bloggers will apply, and the whole thing won't end up being that big of a deal.
But if I'm wrong, and the locker room gets out of control, well then, is anyone going to think that this is anyone's fault but Mark Cuban's? And who is going to be inconvenienced anyway? Maverick players, Maverick PR staffers, and Maverick security top the list. As time goes on, if the blogger scene gets problematic, all the pressure's going to be on the Mavericks to change their own "a blogger is a blogger is a blogger" stance.
Anyway, let's hope it never comes to that, and that the league's new policy does not lead to trouble in Dallas or anywhere else.