Yesterday, Truehoop blogger and Mavs Moneyball friend Henry Abbott posted a detailed look at Mavs owner Mark Cuban's locker room ban of bloggers. He went into some of the underlying reasons behind it and his rational and excellent points on why it is ill-founded. He did bring up one topic, however, that I can give insight into:
I recently talked to an independent Mavericks blogger and asked him if he had ever applied for a credential. He said it had never really occurred to him.
I have a hard time believing the Mavericks have a real problem there.
The fact is that I approached the Mavs press department shortly after the end of last season and did request credentials based on my blog at www.mavelo.us. At that point I had put a lot of effort into Mavelous, and I felt pretty strongly that it was probably the best source of Mavs information on the Internet. Still the reality is that I simply didn't consider my request realistic. I can name at least five independent Mavs blogs off the top of my head, and I felt that it was perhaps a bit unrealistic for hobbyists, even if they work extremely hard (and keeping up a timely blog is hard), to be given free game passes or access to practices. But I gave it a shot.
I emailed Sarah Melton in the Mavs communications department requesting a press pass and pointing her to my blog. Her response was as I expected: "We don't credential Internet sites." I followed up by pointing out the Bill Ingram from Hoopsworld and Mike Fisher from Dallasbasketball.com both were given access to players and coaches, and her response is directly relevant to this conversation.
Her response was that Bill also writes for a magazine attached to Hoopsworld (which he does) and that Mike Fisher is an exception based on a personal relationship he has with the Mavs organization (which he does--the dallasbasketball.com domain is owned by the Mavericks). Other than that, individuals not attached to publications are left in the cold. I should add that she did leave the door open that if I had a specific request that I should email her, and she would consider it.
Note that this conversation happened months ago. My first thought when I heard Cuban's recent dictum on blogging was actually approval. "At last," I thought, "the exceptions are going to be taken care of and us other bloggers will finally be on an equal standing." I felt this way because I knew that Tim McMahon doesn't write for the Morning News, so he is, indeed, a writer for an Internet site. I assumed this applied to Mike Fisher, as well, as he also doesn't write for a newspaper or have a radio or TV broadcast.
So, my initial perception was that Cuban wasn't changing the rules but rather that he was finally following the rules laid down by his own communications department. That said, I've changed my opinion. I agree with Henry. I think you need to create a set of standards and allow select bloggers in. A blanket ban is simply not the answer.
So while I can't fathom Cuban's timing or his ultimate motives, I can definitely state that he wasn't creating a new set of rules but was rather enforcing rules already in place. The real story here, I believe, is why Cuban suddenly took interest in enforcing these rules, and Henry does a great job digging that up.
 And in an excellent illustration of my flaws as a blogger, I originally got Bill Ingram's site wrong. He writes for Hoopsworld, which is now correctly cited above. Sorry, Bill!