Usher Raymond and Dan Gilbert (Getty Images/David Liam Kyle)There's a general assumption among sports fans that being an owner should be fun. That isn't always the case in practice, though, and not just because it's no fun to lose. Owning a team is a high-pressure situation, and it can often bring out the worst in people.
For proof, please examine Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, a man with a penchant for sending borderline-insane letters whenever something happens that he doesn't like (exhibits A and B, if you care to look). Still, Gilbert's no dummy, and he realizes that these strongly worded letters are bad form for a man of his standing. So he's taken steps to filter himself. From Bob Finnan for The Morning Journal (via Marcel Mutoni and TBJ):
Gilbert admits he'll think twice before sending an email to NBA commissioner David Stern or other owners. He stirred up a controversy when New Orleans tried to deal Chris Paul to the Lakers. He voiced his concern about the possible trade.
"It's a little disappointing someone would leak a personal email," he said. "Owners are always making statements and having opinions between them and always sending things back and forth.
"It was unusual and shocked to see that in the media. I thought I was having a dream. Unfortunately, it wasn't. The lesson for me was probably not to send out so many emails and check things before you send stuff out."
Oh, wait -- it turns out Gilbert hasn't learned self-restraint as a personal rule, but instead just wants to make sure he doesn't get himself in any trouble with the media while he does everything possible to get his way. What Gilbert doesn't seem to realize is that people didn't just leak a personal email -- they leaked a personal email that advanced a very questionable argument for why Chris Paul shouldn't be traded to the Lakers. It was a breach of the trust fans place on the NBA. In that case, it was as personal as any interaction between a company and the consumers they serve.
So don't go applauding Gilbert for some newfound sense of online etiquette. He's just trying to save himself from further embarrassment. The questionable opinions and approaches to human interaction remain the same.