Shame on the sports pages of the L.A. Times! On the basis of Sam McManis' article about the Clippers and their expense accounts, it appears that your world-class publication has elected to apply lower standards of journalism to its reporting on the business of professional sports than it does to other businesses--without regard to the personal anguish and damage it might cause to one of sports' most dedicated executives.
On the basis of internal memoranda concerning the Clippers' expense accounting procedures (which may have been improperly removed from the Clippers' office, but no explantion is offered as to how those memoranda were obtained), The Times ran a lead story concentrating on $10,000 worth of expenses. Would the Times really consider it very significant if, in any other business, the company had decided to eliminate company-paid credit cards or that expenses incurred for personal matters were reimbursed to the company? In the NBA league office, I terminated such credit cards (including my own) two years ago for no other reason than to streamline accounting procedures.
I have known and worked with (and, in the ABA days, against) Carl Scheer for almost 20 years, and I can only shout agreement with Clippers President Alan Rothenberg's assessment, printed in your March 16 edition, that "Carl Scheer is a thoroughly honest and decent man." I am at a loss to understand why your publication would use anonymously obtained documents to besmirch his reputation.
Mr. McManis' article is unfair to Mr. Scheer, to the Clippers, to the NBA and to the business of professional sports. It is also unworthy of the L.A. Times.
DAVID J. STERN
(Editor's note: The documents were not acquired illegally or improperly.)