Saturday, July 10, 2010

Quotation Mark Abuse and Angry Rich Men

SPOGG has a confession: We were not riveted by the LeBron James basketball drama and thus did not care one way or another which team he chose.

We did notice when someone asked who "LeBon" James was, and after we got over thinking about Simon Le Bon circa 1985, we read the letter Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert wrote after James chose another team.

It is a case study in quotation mark abuse, and while our inner Jiminy Cricket thinks it's also a case study in poor sportsmanship, we'll focus on the punctuation for now.

Actually, that's sort of a lie. We'll insert some commentary as well. We can't help ourselves.
Dear Cleveland, all of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers supporters wherever you may be tonight[Why the semicolon, Coach? A colon would have done nicely. Or even a comma. Semicolons aren't an angry compromise for the indecisive.]

As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

This was announced with a several-day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his "decision" unlike anything ever "witnessed" in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment. [Someone doesn't watch enough reality programming on TV. Coach, try The Bachelor sometime.]

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.

There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

You simply don't deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more. [Jiminy Cricket can't resist. Cheering at a basketball game is recreation, not a form of giving. Working at a soup kitchen is.]

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight: "I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA Championship before the self-titled former 'king' wins one."

You can take it to the bank. [Actually, sir, people have to take a lot of money from the bank to attend a game. You, however, should profit. Wait. You were being metaphorical? OK, then. That's a cliche.]

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our "motivation" to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels. [OK, when you put your own "motivation" in quotes like that, it makes it seem as though you never had any in the first place. You are a madman.]

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there. [Wait. He's going to Miami. If that is heaven, we don't want to die, either. Not until we have a better tan and wax job.]

Sorry, but that's simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our homegrown "chosen one" sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And "who" we would want them to grow up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called "curse" on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former "King" will be taking the "curse" with him down south. And until he does "right" by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

Just watch.

Sleep well, Cleveland. Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day...

I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only: [That you won't use unnecessary capitalization?]

DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue...[Nope, apparently you are fully aboard the Unnecessary Punctuation Train. Also, an ellipsis at the end of a sentence needs that fourth period. Here, we would've just used the one period. If you really wanted an ellipsis, you could have put one and the resulting dramatic pause after "deserved." And with that, we have demonstrated the proper use of quotation marks around words that are not actually quotations.]

Dan Gilbert

Majority Owner

Cleveland Cavaliers

Thanks to Marla Smith-Nilson of Water1st for sending the letter. Water1st helps build water and sanitation systems for people in the world's poorest communities. This is an example of giving in its most inspirational form. For about $70--less than an NBA ticket--you can provide clean water, toilets, and hygiene education to a child for life, sparing that child a great deal of suffering, and even death. And no one makes you put on an oversize polyester jersey.


Anonymous said...

Miss Martha, you crack me up. Go, Jiminy Cricket.

I thank you for the focus on Water1st and the contrast between recreation and giving. Or perhaps I should have written "giving".

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


sxoidmal said...

Someone tried to explain to me that the love of sports comes from a lust for life. That only goes so far for me: I'm not into sports, but I do have a passion for highlighting violations of the language. I don't have much sympathy for a demographic characterized by entitlement, and even less when they can't be bothered to frame their complaints properly. Demanding ungodly sums of money for playing a game is one thing, and demanding their reading audience to compensate for their inadequacies is another.