UPDATE: May 5, 4:30 p.m.: Well, this is interesting. The original article was amended the evening of May 3, and it turns out that the attorney didn’t show up to the reporter’s home unannounced, as was originally stated. The reporter had made an appointment with the attorney to meet at her home, but left this fairly important detail out of the original story. The revised quote now reads:
Jessica Mackaness, an attorney representing Joe and Gavin Maloof, had an appointment at my house to get a tape of Jackson making a comment about the Kings’ efforts to relocate.
Obviously, that changes things quite a bit, and it’s a shame this wasn’t disclosed in the initial report.
As the saga of the Sacramento Kings’ possible relocation to Anaheim continues, the team’s ownership is beginning to look more and more desperate in their attempts to keep that possibility alive. Their latest move was certainly that.
Janis Carr, a reporter for The Orange County Register, received an unexpected visitor at her home on Friday. It was an attorney representing the Maloofs, who hoped to recover an audio tape of Lakers head coach Phil Jackson’s comments that she had recorded prior to Game 2 of L.A.’s first round playoff series versus the Hornets.
Jessica Mackaness, an attorney representing Joe and Gavin Maloof, showed up at my house to try to persuade me to give her a tape of Jackson making a comment about the Kings’ efforts to relocate.
Mackaness said the Kings’ owners planned to turn over the tape to the NBA and Lakers in an effort to stop Jackson from making further comments.
However, the Register declined to turn over the tape. As a matter of policy, the Register does not release unpublished material gathered in the reporting of stories.
There’s a lot wrong, here. Let’s start with the fact that it’s completely ridiculous to send an attorney to a reporter’s home looking for audio from a pregame media session with an NBA head coach. I’m not positive, but it’s highly likely that a low-key phone call from someone on the Kings’ PR staff to any of the large number of reporters who cover Lakers games could have gotten the Maloofs that audio clip, and done so much more discretely.
But sending an attorney to someone’s home, unannounced? That basically guarantees you’re not getting what you’re looking for without a search warrant. It’s unnecessarily intimidating, and anyone put in that situation would obviously contact their employer (and possibly their own attorney) to make sure they follow every policy and procedure exactly.
Then there’s the issue of Jackson’s comments. All the league could do is warn him that if he speaks on the issue in the future that they will fine him. But let’s be clear: there’s no way to actually stop Jackson from speaking on this, or any other league-wide issue of his choosing. If he wants to pay the fines, he can say just about anything he likes.
It’s quite possible that the Maloofs knew that this tactic wouldn’t get them a copy of that recording, and maybe they were just looking for some press to let the league know they don’t appreciate Jackson’s siding with the city of Sacramento on this issue. If that’s the case, mission accomplished, guys. But you’ve also completely embarrassed yourselves in the process.