So, Jim Rome isn't afraid to ruffle a few feathers, even if you're a guest on his show. He's known for this. We know this. So it's not really surprising that during an interview with David Stern Wednesday, he asked the NBA commissioner if the NBA Lottery was rigged for New Orleans.
What WAS surprising was when Stern responded by asking Rome, "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?"
He was joking, of course. But in the way that only a millionaire rich guy who's not even a little afraid of losing his job can joke. The kind of joke that leads to a whole lotta nervous laughter. You don't have to like David Stern, but one day when he's gone it's stuff like this that we'll laugh about forever. Imagine anyone asking you on live radio if you beat your wife.
I think I'd probably start laughing, but then I'd remember I'm on live radio and I'd immediately freak out, worrying that people were gonna think I beat my wife. Which was Stern's whole point.
His question was as loaded as Rome's, planting ideas in people's head. Before he got to the wife beating part, he answered Rome's question in two parts. First by saying "No." and second, "Shame on you for asking." When Rome doubled-down ("It's my job to ask you that"), Stern upped the ante, too. You can listen to the audio at Deadspin.
And now I'm sure thousands of people will be googling to see whether Jim Rome has ever beaten his wife. Which proves Stern's point, right? You may not think it's okay to joke about wife beating, or to do it on live radio, but it's a famous example that's been cited in court. And it's a pretty fantastic way to disarm somebody. Especially somebody who was trying to ask you TOUGH, loaded questions on live radio.
I think the lesson here is, play that game with David Stern at your own risk.