Editorial: No Brains Allowed
The list of suspensions this year for violent (and stupid) fouls is quickly growing. Andrew Bynum received a two-game suspension for his foul on Michael Beasley. Kevin Love also received a two-game suspension for stomping on Luis Scola’s head. Drew Gooden too received a one-game suspension for fouling Gerald Henderson. Blake Griffin was at the receiving end of two fouls that earned suspensions–one for Jason Smith and the other for Robin Lopez. Last, but certainly not least, Metta World Peace infamously receive a seven-game suspension for his recent elbow to James Harden.
We will give the NBA some credit–at least they are suspending players now. In 2009, when Bynum fouled Gerald Wallace hard enough to break a rib and partially collapse a lung, he did not receive a suspension. In the 2008 playoffs, Jason Kidd threw Jannero Pargo to the ground by the back of the head and only missed seven minutes of the game after he was ejected but not suspended. What message does that send to players who are already pushing limits?
It is not suspensions for hard fouls that are the only offender in the NBA. Technical fouls also mar the image of the NBA in the eyes of fans. Last season, Dwight Howard, one of the NBA’s most visible players, had 18 technical fouls. This season, eight players (DeMarcus Cousins, Kendrick Perkins, Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Blake Griffin, Josh Smith, Russell Westbrook, and Deron Williams) have had double-digit technical fouls. Of the top fourteen technical foul offenders, nine were also named to the All-Star game in 2012. This toleration of the poor behavior of NBA stars is a bad sign for the NBA.
So far in the 2012 NBA playoffs, fans have witnessed two other players miss court time due to terrible decisions. Rajon Rondo drew a one-game suspension for bumping into a referee, while Amare Stoudemire is out indefinitely after cutting his hand punching a glass fire extinguisher case. It seems immaturity is the gift that keeps on giving.
When will this cycle of embarrassment end for the NBA? Players are sliding out of control and making the NBA’s image look worse than Charles Barkley’s golf swing. Unless something happens–and soon–fans might be attending a circus to watch an NBA game break out.
Story by Zane Gard | Sports Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org