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Adam Silver admits ‘no silver bullets’ when it comes to fixing tampering

Adam Silver, NBA

The NBA has gone all-in on a reform to fix its longstanding tampering issue. The league recently dropped the hammer earlier after announcing hefty team and individual-based fines for those who are found guilty of doing so. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver admits this fine-laced strategy is certainly not bulletproof, but one that can put the rails in the right direction for a smoother ride in the future:

“There are no silver bullets here. There isn’t any one aspect of the package where we came in to say, “This will fix the problem.” This is something that will change over time,” Silver told Sam Amick of The Athletic. “It’s going to change by teams seeing that it’s not just that the league office means business, but the people at the top in these organizations, these governors, when they’re putting their names on a contract, they really want to believe that what they’re signing is accurate and there has been nothing inappropriate that is done in order to sign that player. So I believe in it, and I think — again — now we’ve gotten the sign-off but now there’s a lot of work to do in terms of the implementation of these procedures. Beginning this past weekend, we’re hard at work on it.”

In addition to the hefty fines, the NBA will conduct five random audits and is looking at other policies, but no strict language has been laid as to how the audit will be conducted. As Silver explained, it’s a work in progress with some issues still to address:

“I’m sure you heard, but there was lots of conversation (in the meetings) about “What does a random audit mean?” And in fairness to the teams, we didn’t come in there with the details and I think it was a fair point to say, “You’re saying random audits. What does that mean? Are you taking my phone? You’re taking my server away? Are you looking into things beyond the scope of what’s necessary to ferret out the kind of conduct you’re talking about?” And again, we didn’t ask them to vote on that. It’s ultimately the job of the league office to enforce our rules. But what we said to them was, “We will come back to you.” This is not a trap. We don’t want to kick somebody, we want compliance.”

The NBA is still very much in the beginning stages of trying to figure out how to get rid of tampering, let alone enforce it. Teams are aware tampering is happening and has been for a long time, yet it will take more than a hefty check but also a self-policing willingness to play by the rules to make progress — something that is tough to muster in a league as competitive as the NBA.