Miami Heat Censors Scott Raab, New Times, and -- Long Ago -- Herald

Most sports teams get it. Anything in print is good for them. The Miami Heat has never understood this. 

On Monday, the team banned Esquire writer Scott Raab after he called LeBron James a "gutless loser" and other choice terms. Raab is writing a book about LeBron.

This ain't the first time the team has gone after its perceived enemies by trying to silence them. More than a decade ago, then Heat executive Pauline Winick called the Herald to complain about my coverage of the effort to build the American Airlines Arena. Turned out the five-year-old arena they wanted to replace was consciously designed too small.

The team pushed until then publisher David Lawrence waffled and forced me to meet with her -- and then urged me to back off. Over the years, spokesmen have regularly badgered beat writers.

And the team has -- for almost two decades -- banned Miami New Times from Heat credentials, all because we once called the owner Micky Arison "A Big Fat Greedy Corporate Pig" and pictured him on the cover with pigs ears and a snout. They called to complain just a few months ago when we made fun of the Heat mascot pacing in front of the arena in an effort to nudge the Heat to resign Dwyane Wade. We said he was "suicidal." Joke, boys.

Bullying never works in the long run in sports. The Heat may win an NBA championship this year, but in the long run, good will in the community triumphs. And that means accepting criticism in a manly fashion. Not banning or bullying folks to win the message you want.

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Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse