Laying open the soul of the NBA

James Longstreet
Finally.  The National Basketball’s allegiance to high ethical standards has been revealed and now is inscribed to stone. There is no room for racial slurs, intolerance, blah blah blah.

Mr. Sterling is banned for life.  This seems fair, as he is a willing subject to the rules of his adopted association.  It is a marquee decision, and the outrage is spot lit and glorified.

Now for the further and forward application of these standards which, up to this point, were seemingly feckless and discretionary.

Will the “banned for life” penalty be applied to coaches and players who might blurt out a racially insensitive phrase in the heat of a game?  How many free throws will that be?

Instead or the referee making the “T” with his two hands joined in hasty perpendicularity, how might the “R” (for racial infringement) be constructed?  Maybe a cheerleader can be summoned to contort to the letter’s form.

And what of “off the court” issues?  Will those pesky incidents of shooting weapons at girlfriends, occasional rape and drug use, forcing abortions, reckless driving resulting in the death of the passenger, attacking spectators, anti gay slurs, and gambling now meet similar and celebrated administrative outrage? 

In this article by Ben Shapiro titled “Things that won’t get you banned in the NBA”, a small sampling of recent misbehaviors.

In 2011, Kobe Bryant called referee Bennie Adams a “faggot.” He received a $100,000 fine and no suspension.

In 2012, current Clippers forward Matt Barnes called an officer a “f***ing faggot,” then made an attempt to handcuff him. There was no fine. He was suspended for one game. The suspension was unrelated to the slur.

In 2012, Amare Stoudemire of the New York Knicks sent an anti-gay slur to a fan via Twitter. He was fined $50,000. There was no suspension.

 In 2013, Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers used an anti-gay slur and was fined $75,000, without suspension.

The Houston Rockets team is currently being sued by a gay waiter for their alleged use of anti-gay slurs. The NBA has taken no action.

In 2004, Stephen Jackson and Ron Artest of the Indiana Pacers leapt into the stands in Detroit to attack fans. Jermaine O’Neal fought fans on the court. A full-scale melee ensued with players fighting fans and fans fighting players. The result: Ron Artest was suspended the remainder of the season, Jackson was suspended for 30 games, and O’Neal was suspended for 15 games.

 In 1995, when Houston Rockets guard Vernon Maxwell didn’t like the comments of a fan, he charged into the stands and punched him. That resulted in a whopping 10 game suspension.

In 2013, the press reported that current Clippers guard JJ Redick had an abortion contract with girlfriend Vanessa Lopez. When she became pregnant, the contract stipulated, she would have to have an abortion, and Redick would then have to “maintain a social and/or dating relationship” with her for a year or pay her $25,000. When she refused to have an abortion, he pressured her to do so. So far, there have been no repercussions.

Gilbert Arenas was suspended for 50 games, and his teammate Javaris Crittenton was suspended for 38 games after they drew firearms on each other while arguing over gambling debts. In the locker room.

In 2009, JR Smith, then of the Denver Nuggets, pled guilty to reckless driving. His reckless driving resulted in one of his passengers dying. He was suspended a total of 9 games.

And one might even speculate on Michael Jordan’s curious one year “vacation” from the NBA to play what apparently was his favorite sport, baseball. 

I guess that the old phrase, “you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your NBA owners” seems to be in play here.  The NBA is certainly going to address this problem, and the legal proceedings will make some law firm fees approach the salaries of a seventh man on a last place team.  Where there is big money, there will be big legal fees.

Assuredly, the Sterling counter litigation will be long and drawn out. There will be continuances, delays and lack of prosecutorial effort. The defense will rest, and often.  But be certain, the lawyers will litigate and ply their abilities to their full capabilities for the final five minutes of the trial.  That’s a slam dunk.

Finally.  The National Basketball’s allegiance to high ethical standards has been revealed and now is inscribed to stone. There is no room for racial slurs, intolerance, blah blah blah.

Mr. Sterling is banned for life.  This seems fair, as he is a willing subject to the rules of his adopted association.  It is a marquee decision, and the outrage is spot lit and glorified.

Now for the further and forward application of these standards which, up to this point, were seemingly feckless and discretionary.

Will the “banned for life” penalty be applied to coaches and players who might blurt out a racially insensitive phrase in the heat of a game?  How many free throws will that be?

Instead or the referee making the “T” with his two hands joined in hasty perpendicularity, how might the “R” (for racial infringement) be constructed?  Maybe a cheerleader can be summoned to contort to the letter’s form.

And what of “off the court” issues?  Will those pesky incidents of shooting weapons at girlfriends, occasional rape and drug use, forcing abortions, reckless driving resulting in the death of the passenger, attacking spectators, anti gay slurs, and gambling now meet similar and celebrated administrative outrage? 

In this article by Ben Shapiro titled “Things that won’t get you banned in the NBA”, a small sampling of recent misbehaviors.

In 2011, Kobe Bryant called referee Bennie Adams a “faggot.” He received a $100,000 fine and no suspension.

In 2012, current Clippers forward Matt Barnes called an officer a “f***ing faggot,” then made an attempt to handcuff him. There was no fine. He was suspended for one game. The suspension was unrelated to the slur.

In 2012, Amare Stoudemire of the New York Knicks sent an anti-gay slur to a fan via Twitter. He was fined $50,000. There was no suspension.

 In 2013, Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers used an anti-gay slur and was fined $75,000, without suspension.

The Houston Rockets team is currently being sued by a gay waiter for their alleged use of anti-gay slurs. The NBA has taken no action.

In 2004, Stephen Jackson and Ron Artest of the Indiana Pacers leapt into the stands in Detroit to attack fans. Jermaine O’Neal fought fans on the court. A full-scale melee ensued with players fighting fans and fans fighting players. The result: Ron Artest was suspended the remainder of the season, Jackson was suspended for 30 games, and O’Neal was suspended for 15 games.

 In 1995, when Houston Rockets guard Vernon Maxwell didn’t like the comments of a fan, he charged into the stands and punched him. That resulted in a whopping 10 game suspension.

In 2013, the press reported that current Clippers guard JJ Redick had an abortion contract with girlfriend Vanessa Lopez. When she became pregnant, the contract stipulated, she would have to have an abortion, and Redick would then have to “maintain a social and/or dating relationship” with her for a year or pay her $25,000. When she refused to have an abortion, he pressured her to do so. So far, there have been no repercussions.

Gilbert Arenas was suspended for 50 games, and his teammate Javaris Crittenton was suspended for 38 games after they drew firearms on each other while arguing over gambling debts. In the locker room.

In 2009, JR Smith, then of the Denver Nuggets, pled guilty to reckless driving. His reckless driving resulted in one of his passengers dying. He was suspended a total of 9 games.

And one might even speculate on Michael Jordan’s curious one year “vacation” from the NBA to play what apparently was his favorite sport, baseball. 

I guess that the old phrase, “you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your NBA owners” seems to be in play here.  The NBA is certainly going to address this problem, and the legal proceedings will make some law firm fees approach the salaries of a seventh man on a last place team.  Where there is big money, there will be big legal fees.

Assuredly, the Sterling counter litigation will be long and drawn out. There will be continuances, delays and lack of prosecutorial effort. The defense will rest, and often.  But be certain, the lawyers will litigate and ply their abilities to their full capabilities for the final five minutes of the trial.  That’s a slam dunk.