Wednesday, May 16, 2007


It's not a matter of fairness. It's a matter of correctness.....

....that is what stu jackson had to say on why he suspended amare stoudamire and boris diaw for NOT HITTING ANYONE at the end of game 4 of the suns vs. spurs. this is the most assinine defence I have ever heard. The league is saying it has a "zero tolerance policy" for leaving the bench. I think all sentient adults can realize that zero tolerance policies are goss oversimplifications that result in comical rulings (suspended 2nd graders with tylenol and whatnot). To fall back on a policy even when the extenuating circumstance show that it is clearly generating an inappropriate ruling shows a lack of will and a real fear on the part of the administrator. this ruling is just the latest outgrowth of the fact that the NBA fears its players' "thuggishness" (see also: blackness) and must institute a reign of terror to keep them in line after the Pistons/pacers fight. Anyone who has every watched a hockey game knows that things get chippy at the end and that you can't allow lesser players to take liberties with your skill players. that is exactly what happened in to steve nash. and in that situation in a dirty series, stoudamire and diaw were right to instinctively defend their (smaller) teammate. If haymakers had been thrown, this would be another story. but to alter the course of a playoff series on a technicality is a shame.

You're absolutely right. Horry's 2-game suspension was proper. Amare's suspension may or may not have been deserved; he didn't throw any punches, but he had to be restrained from getting involved in the pushing and shoving match, which would definitely have escalated things.

Boris Diaw, as far as I'm concerned, did NOTHING wrong and shouldn't have been suspended at all. Similarly, during the Knicks fight earlier this season, a couple of players took a single step onto the court, caught themselves, and returned to the bench, only to be suspended by the league. Which was total bullshit. If they want to cut down on bench-clearing brawls, then there should be some sort of hockey-style "third man to join a fight" penalty, but a suspension for merely stepping onto the court, without some sort of finding of "intent," and without any sort of balancing test, is stupid.

I further agree that fighting (like off-the-court partying) are made out by the NBA to be much worse than they actually are, probably because they're marketing a black league to rich white people who are easily scared of African-Americans.

Having said all of that, basketball fighting is worse than hockey fighting because the risks are so much higher -- 6'9", 260 pound guys who are able to plant their feet, get leverage, and throw roundhouses is entirely different from hockey, where, because one's balance is so much worse, on nobody is ever hit all that hard. Almost everybody involved in a hockey fight is back on the ice 20 minutes later, whereas if Amare and Ben Wallace threw down, somebody would leave the arena with a shattered eye socket. Kermit Washington almost KILLED Rudy Tomjanovich with a single punch in 1977. I've been a hockey fan for 20 years, and I've never seen anybody sustain injuries anywhere near as bad. I realize fair number of basketball fights (like baseball fights) are all about tackling and wrestling instead of actual punch-throwing, but even so, its potentially much more dangerous than hockey fighting and should probably be punished more severely as a result.
just ask todd fedoruk is no one gets hurt in hockey fights
Fair point, but considering how many hockey fights there are, I'd say the right is minimal relative to other sports, particulaly basketball.
It has nothing to do with race. That rule was in effect a long time before the Pistons-Pacers brawl--12 years, in fact. And it has been consistently enforced since then. Is it a stupid rule? Maybe. But you can't just stop enforcing a rule in the middle of the postseason when there is a years-long precedent established. How is THAT fair? It's not like someone forgot to tell the Suns the rules. They've all known that rule since they came into the league. If the NBA all of a sudden reversed the stance it had held for years and years to keep Stoudemire in the series, people would have been calling bullshit. It woudld have been favoritism and it would have looked fixed, because it flies in the face of everything the league has practiced for 14 years. Stoudemire screwed up. He's young, he got emotional, and he screwed up, and I bet he'll never do it again.

It didn't necessarily alter the course of the playoff series, either. You don't know the Suns would have won otherwise. No one does. The Spurs are a damn good team, and the series was tied.
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