Time and time again, we see players get tripped up or sprain an ankle from cameramen sitting closer to game action than they really should be. It’s not their fault because that’s what the job requires, and more importantly, no one tells them not to be that close.
The fault lies in the league’s unwillingness to compromise for the safety of the players. Earlier in the season, we saw Philadelphia 76ers guard Jason Richardson sprain his ankle after stepping on a cameraman, causing him to miss four games as a result.
If you listen carefully towards the end of the clip above, you’ll hear exactly how Richardson felt about what happened to him. It’s bad enough that teams constantly lose players due to injuries. The last thing we need is for players to suffer injuries from non game-related issues that are, for some reason, close enough on the court to be an issue.
And just when you think you’ve seen it all, this happened to Stephen Jackson on Thursday:
A server was taking an order from New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg during live action, and as you can see, the result is one that will directly hurt Jackson and the San Antonio Spurs. Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated shared his take on what happened:
The NBA clearly benefits from an all-access experience for courtside fans and an up-close-and-personal television experience thanks to courtside cameramen and photographers. But it’s been said time and time again: there is such a thing as too close. How close is too close? When Jackson’s rump is pressed against a waitress’s head as he’s falling backwards with no idea what’s happening. That’s too close. Preventing this particular type of situation from happening again should be a fairly easy process: no order taking during live game play. (Or, better yet, have a mobile ordering interface so that the rich and famous can make their purchases from their cellphones and Blackberries.) The bigger battles regarding the location of baseline cameras and photographers and the overall distance between front row seats and the sidelines deserve the attention of the league office.
Hopefully, the league takes a closer look at this situation and implement better rules now, before having no choice but to take action because a player suffers a more serious injury.
Onto other news from around the league: