The Cleveland Plain Dealer is getting a lot of buzz and praise for its post-LeBron cover, which carries a mean-spirited (depending on how you read it) little note that reads “7 years in Cleveland. No Rings.” It’s of a piece with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert’s absolutely berserk letter (“You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal”).

It’s not that I object to Cleveland management, fans, and journalists being dicks about it. One of the glories of sports is that its abstraction from real life allows us to be the childish assholes most of us are inside without any particular repercussions, and I prefer it to the bloodless professionalism that usually emanates from athletes and front offices. But not really having a dog in this fight, I feel like I can make a defense of James while respecting the earned anger of Cleveland fans.