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Riding the Wizards Bench August

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Hard Issues As We Head Into An Easy Weekend

It may be Labor Day weekend in the U.S., but there are some important issues that should be looked at with a critical eye in this off-season. Don't worry, I won't spend too much time discussing this.

The Color Of Coaching

David Aldridge of "ESPNet" raises an interesting point in a column this month - what do assistant coaches of color have to do to get a job interview? (And I really don't like making a distinction based on race, because ultimately your competency should matter, not your race. But some hard questions do deserve to be raised on this issue.)

Dennis Johnson should have gotten a job this past off-season. Clifford Ray, late of the Bullets last season, gets mentioned as a possibility. But these guys can't even get an interview for a head coaching job (which is an absolute crime in Johnson's case - he would have been a good match for the Wizards if Bickerstaff had stepped aside).

Come on, when Mike Dunleavy gets a shot at coaching again over all other comers, after proving unable to make a team of Vin Baker, "Big Dog" Robinson, and Ray Allen work (and riding Magic Johnson's coattails to one NBA Finals), then something is wrong.

In reality, it's about more than just color, as Aldridge notes. The hiring of Bickerstaff by the then-Bullets last year is an unstated example of the hiring of a coach of color, yet also proves Aldridge's ultimate point. Assistants in general are not getting the chance to prove themselves at a higher level, despite how well they often work with the players in their regular assistant roles. In reality, this lack of access probably has to do with the perception of drawing the crowds, and how big names in your head coach box somehow translate into higher attendance figures.

No, that's wrong. I don't believe that contention one bit. Winning translates into higher attendance figures. And good coaches should get the jobs, no matter where they are coaching or what color they are, not some pretty face who may or may not succeed.

The Online Experience, Continued

I told you I'm going to write about this a lot. New stuff is happening on the copyright frontier. This time, it's a reasonably well-balanced article from News.com, entitled Digital Copyright Bill Splits PC Industry. It seems to pit the software and hardware side of the computing industry against each other, among other things.

I guess most disturbing for me is that some of the measures that were defeated at the December 1996 meeting of WIPO (for international copyright issues) are being pushed at the national level. They didn't make sense then, and it doesn't look like those concerns have been addressed again. If you feel strongly about this issue and live in the U.S., please write your Senator and Congressperson and let them know of your views in a calm and rational manner. Every note helps.

wtf 29 August 1997

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