To whom it may concern,
I write to express my extreme disappointment that WebMediaBrands has decided not to support the 2010 mediabistro.com basketball league.
Two years ago, Amy Hauck and I resurrected the grand tradition started by Dave Gould. The league included a combination of mb staffers, instructors, and members of the wider community. It was a stirring success, both recreationally and financially. Last year, the MBBL returned and ran smoothly, turning a profit with little effort from WEBM staffers.
I have since moved to California, but I asked Shane Ryan (a team captain last season) if he would be willing to run it this year. He agreed and, with assistance from Carmen Scheidel and Hussain Rahim, set about getting the documents in order and signing up players. Last week, however, he was told — and subsequently informed me — that WEBM would not support the league.
While I do not know the full extent of what prompted this decision — Shane was never given a concrete explanation beyond the one faulty line of reasoning I detail below — the choice concerns me on a number of levels. First, it came out of the blue, merely two weeks before the start of play. If nothing else, the timing of the choice is extremely inconsiderate to Shane, who has been working hard to make this happen (and previously had been given approval). Second, Shane was told that there wasn’t enough of a WEBM/mb presence since only four staffers signed up to play. At the end of last season, the same number of employees were participating, rendering this explanation invalid. (Additionally, as you’ll see below, the MBBL isn’t about staff.)
These two issues are rather minor. My final concern is not: The decision to not support the league runs counter to mediabistro.com’s core philosophy. mb is an organization that was founded on — and has made millions off of — the concept of community. The basketball league was a part of this greater community. A small section, for sure, but an important one nonetheless. While staffers were of course invited to play, the more important function of the league was to serve as one of the many ways that mb brings people together. WEBM’s decision to turn its back on this segment of the community, especially considering the MBBL turns a profit and requires little work on the part of company staffers, is hugely disappointing and speaks volumes about the direction of the organization.
MBBL Commissioner 2008 and 2009
To whom it may concern,