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One Lesson From Brandon Roy's Contract Negotiations

Brandon Roy just got paid. In a big way.

It was a slightly unusual contract negotiation but not because of how long it took (not long at all, really) or the end result (the expected max five year deal with a player option).  

The most memorable turn in the negotiations came when The Oregonian's Jason Quick, Blazers insider, publicly lobbied against the team on Roy's behalf. There was genuine surprise among many long-time observers at just how far Quick went -- "the team is nickel-and-diming him with the amount of years. It's bad form" -- and plenty of raised eyebrows over the "golden aura" imagery.  It got ugly, too: there were jokes behind the scenes about whether Quick would get a Rolex from Roy's agent for his trouble.  

The main, perfectly reasonable point of Quick's piece-- that max entending Roy was a no-brainer -- got lost in the hysteria fueled in part by the tone and imagery that surrounded it.  That was a shame.  Whether intentionally or not (Quick has certainly earned the benefit of the doubt from me), that article stirred up the worst sentiments among Blazers fans: panic, anger, and woe-is-me self-loathing.

At times, the mindless fear expressed by certain portions of Blazer nation was pathetic.  

I really, really hate to quote Mark Jackson but, for once, he put it better than anyone else could. To both the fear-mongerers and those cowering next to their FM radios scared senseless by a Roy apocalypse: "You're Better Than That." 

I hope that the swift, satisfactory conclusion to this episode serves to reinforce a message that I was shouting on twitter for a week (but which felt like an eternity): BE REASONABLE.

When your instincts tell you that "THE TEAM WOULD BE SOOOO STUPID NOT TO SIGN HIM....." trust your instincts. Trust the months, if not years, of public and private, direct and indirect, statements of support the team made toward Brandon Roy.  Go back to the original sources -- direct quotes from the key players involved -- if you are having trouble getting your mind around what you're reading or hearing on talk radio.

As a Blazers fan, you are blessed with the ability to be as well-informed about your team as any fan anywhere in the country.  Indeed, there are thousands of you reading this that put as many (or more) hours into your fandom as those who write/record/produce Blazers content.  With all of that knowledge comes a responsibility to help spread the good word in every way that you can.  

Why do I say that? Because every single local television and radio station rushed over to the Practice Facility the day after Quick's story broke, ready to stoke the flames, prodding Kevin Pritchard for any crack in the facade.  Some of those present were people I hadn't seen around the team in months, people who didn't even show up for Andre Miller's press conference.  People who probably won't show up for Roy's signing press conference.

I say this completely honestly: I was more scared by that media mob than I ever was by the thought of not extending Brandon Roy. 

For my money, yesterday was Jason Quick at his best again: the only reporter with a statement directly from Roy, the only reporter with clear, factual insight into the sticking points of the negotiation. He answered all of the important questions, he did it in a very timely manner and the final product was both interesting and informative.  What more could I ask for?

As an intelligent reader, you have a lot of power: comment on quality articles, send feedback to the writers (they listen, I promise), spread praise around the internet for superlative efforts, and, most importantly, devote your attention and media consumption dollars to those enterprises that you feel are doing things "the right way."  

For me, and I believe for a lot of you, the right way still matters.  

Because if you don't speak up, in this changing media landscape, "the right way" will continue to erode or, worse, disappear entirely. It's happening day by day, paper by paper.  Fear of that potential endgame is why I wrote this.

-- Ben (