(CBS/AP) Jim Rome says he thought he was asking a “softball question” about the NBA draft lottery that led Commissioner David Stern to ask the radio host if he had stopped beating his wife.
Rome asked Stern whether the lottery was fixed. The New Orleans Hornets, recently sold by the league to Saints owner Tom Benson, won the No. 1 pick.
Stern responded that it wasn’t, and after some debate over the legitimacy of the question, Stern said: “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”
Rome said later Wednesday on his TV show on CBS Sports Network that he didn’t take great offense, calling Stern’s phrase a “rhetorical device” that some fans may not understand but he did. He defended his question, saying he doesn’t believe the lottery is fixed but that it was fair to ask.
Here is a partial transcript of the exchange, via CBSSports.com’s Matt Moore:
Rome: “...was the fix in for the lottery?”
Stern: “No, and a statement: shame on you for asking.”
Rome: “I understand why you would say that to me. I think it’s my job to ask because I think people wonder.”
Stern: “No, it’s ridiculous. But that’s OK.”
Rome: “I know you think it’s ridiculous, but I don’t think the question’s ridiculous, because I know people who think that. I’m not saying that I do, but I think it’s my job to ask you that.”
Stern: “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”
Rome: “I don’t know if that’s fair.
Stern: “Why is that?”
Rome: “Because I know you read your emails and you probably follow on Twitter, and people really do think it, whether it’s fair or not. You don’t think it’s fair to ask if your fans think it?”