June 22, 2006

My objections to this year’s NBA Finals are almost identical to my objections to the 2004 US Presidential elections.

That is, I’m questioning the ‘how’ rather than the ‘what’. The Dallas Mavericks were outscored by the Miami Heat in four consecutive games; George W. Bush received more electoral votes than John Kerry. Those are facts, and neither of them is in dispute. But one can question the way those came to be so.

I’m not saying I agree with the conspiracy theorists in either issue, or even necessarily with the more levelheaded folks.

I don’t think either contest was stolen, but I can’t be sure at all. It’s just like Scalia going hunting with Cheney and then not recusing himself, or a patent examiner examining an application in whose assignee he owns hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of stock. The appearance of impropriety is what’s important here.

Dirk Nowitzki getting called for a foul when Dwyane Wade shoved him doesn’t, in itself, mean the NBA is rigged; neither does the CEO of a company known for making easily- and untraceably-tampered-with voting machines publicly pledging to deliver the state of Ohio to a particular candidate, in itself, mean the 2004 election was stolen. But, really, how fair can any contest be when the system overseeing and regulating it screws up all the time?

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