My kids have their birthdays within five days of each other in February. Invariably, we end up with two parties on the one weekend between their actual birthdays, and that happened to be this weekend. They're a little older now, and so that parties have changed some, but in the end, ClipperZoe had a party and sleepover on Friday, and then I took ClipperMax and his friends to his first rock (Cake at the Palladium -- very cool) on Saturday night, followed by another sleepover of course. Sunday was spent recovering.
So if I seemed a little absent over the weekend, that's why.
I missed some excitement I realize. Let's start with the blog-side of things. As the blog has grown, I've obviously added some new authors to help with the writing workload. However, I've remained the final authority on things like warning or banning commenters for bad behavior. As you all probably realize, I've maintained a relatively laissez-faire attitude over the years, letting situations work themselves out and allowing the community to police itself. Other than obvious spam, I've only banned one user until very recently. But we never had to deal with a situation like we had this weekend.
For those who were not on the post-game thread (or a few other places) on Saturday, I won't go into the very ugly details. Suffice it to say that citizen LJ Hann was in a difficult position, which he handled admirably. He texted me some time after midnight, but I managed to sleep through my cell phone. With no other choice, he hid the recap post he had written. When I got the message Sunday morning, I deleted the offensive content, banned the user responsible, and reposted the recap.
I want to point out that the user in question was not, as far as I know, a Blazers fan as he was described on the thread. He had been a member of Blazersedge and other blogs, but had already been banned at Blazersedge before this incident. I should also say that I had banned a different user, created from the same IP address, a few days before, for less objectionable though no less obnoxious behavior. This guy was a troll, plain and simple, with no agenda other than to cause trouble. You should also know that steps are being taken to ban the individual AND the IP address network wide a SBNation -- an action that is not taken lightly, but is appropriate in this case.
In the aftermath of this incident, I have given additional authority to several members of the community to police the comments, to delete content and to warn and ban users in extreme cases.
But there was some other inappropriate activity on Saturday that led to another ban that I want to talk about as well.
Ryan Gomes made a poor decision on his inbounds pass at the end of regulation. Just as Chris Paul made a poor decision a split second later, and the Clippers as a team made a poor decision to keep switching the Tony Parker - Tim Duncan pick and roll. It happens.
Clips Nation is an appropriate forum to blow off some steam, to vent a little, to express your disappointment and frustration after a tough loss. But it should never get personal. This blog is by no means a place to organize flame campaigns targeting players directly via their twitter account or anywhere else. If you tweet your venom at a player and I don't know about it, there's nothing I can do. If you drag this blog into that situation, you are way over the line, and such behavior will not be tolerated.
I want to commend the many citizens on here who made that exact point in the comments and in the FanPosts. Thank you for being the types of citizens Clips Nation can be proud of. I know that things got ugly on Twitter -- I'm gratified that it was far more civil on Clips Nation, even if there were some overreactions.
As for the game itself, obviously it was a very difficult loss. Like many of you no doubt, I stood watching the play in disbelief. It all happened so fast, but it nonetheless felt like slow motion to me. It was surreal. I knew when the ball left Gomes' hands that the pass was thrown too soon (or too late, if you prefer). But there's no one person on whom to pin this loss. Why did Gomes throw that ball at that moment? Was the play drawn up for Paul to go into the backcourt? Why did Paul throw the ball to Gary Neal - literally the worst possible place he could throw the ball? He could hang onto the ball and take the violation. He could throw it back into the front court, away from his own basket. He could throw it out of bounds. And why did Randy Foye back off of Neal rather than closing him out immediately? Only a three hurt the Clippers in that situation, and they handed an uncontested one to San Antonio's best shooter.
That one play was a disaster -- I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it -- but no one play loses a game. Not to mention that the Clippers would not have been in a position to ice the game had Gary Neal not committed an equally unforced error just seconds before. For that matter, maybe we should blame Kenyon Martin for the loss. When Randy Foye dove on the loose ball, Martin immediately called timeout -- but Foye successfully got the ball to Paul, and the Spurs would have been forced to foul Paul then had Martin not been quite so quick-witted. A thousand mistakes go into every loss. As a team, hopefully the Clippers will learn from their mistakes. As fans, all we can do is agonize over them.