Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert may or may not have flown to South Florida to meet with LeBron James last night, but his team has made a significant, if indirect and coincidental, overture to the world’s best player nonetheless. The scathing letter deriding LeBron’s choice to sign with the Miami Heat that Gilbert wrote four years ago has occupied a page on the Cavaliers website since it was penned, comic sans and all. Until now, that is.
With the likelihood that James will return to Cleveland seemingly increasing by the day, the Cavs finally took down Gilbert’s letter from the team’s official website. The original URL of Gilbert’s embarrassing diatribe now redirects to the site’s home page.
Here’s an archived version of the letter live on Cleveland’s site.
That Gilbert’s childish tirade was available under the Cleveland domain for the past four years is amazing. Not only did Gilbert’s guarantee that the Cavs would win a championship before the “SELF-TITLED FORMER KING” fail to materialize, but the league’s consensus takeaway from the letter was disgust. One assumed that the Cavs would do all they could to re-build goodwill with players by ensuring Gilbert’s heated words never again reached the light of day. Instead, the letter found traction again as James ponders free agency. Incredible.
However, a report by SBNation’s Mike Prada with exclusive quotes from a Cavaliers representative provides some clarity, no matter how biased. According to Cavaliers Director of Communications Tad Carper, the letter was removed shortly after The Decision but remained available because of a loophole.
“The letter was removed years ago from the Cavs.com website, but over the last week, it was discovered that it still existed from this external link to a stagnant archived page,” Cavaliers director of communications Tad Carper told SB Nation. “It was on the content management system platform that was used back in 2010.”
Thus, everyone within the organization proceeded as if nothing strange was going on. But when James’ free agency started to kick into gear, one employee noticed a spike in traffic to a page that was believed to be purged from the Internet. A decision was made to delete the letter again, but the process was more complex because the team did not have direct access to the site’s old CMS. Thus, the team had to ask the league to do it for them…
“Quite frankly, we weren’t looking for [the letter] because we knew we deleted it,” [Carper said] said. “If [it still being an active url] would have become apparent a year ago, we would have deleted it too.”
Either way, fallout from the letter may not matter in the long-run. James is seriously considering returning to the Cavs despite Gilbert’s presence, and that the owner’s message has finally been erased from his organization’s public web domain only further fuels that speculation.
Here’s hoping that Gilbert writes a letter praising LeBron if The King salvages one of the most consistently incompetent organizations in professional sports by going back to Cleveland. Just don’t use Comic Sans this time, Dan.
(H/T Eye On Basketball)
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