05/15/2007 11:59 pm
First of all let me agree that yes the NBA does pretty much stink. Still, some parts of the playoffs are usually worth watching. Like the Suns-Spurs series. Even if you don't like basketball, this is one those matchups that any true sports fan can appreciate at least if not enjoy. Or at least it was until 2 of the Suns best players got suspended for doing pratically nothing. If you don't know about this yet, you should be able to google it or look it up on espn.com in about 5 seconds. If you're still too lazy to do that, the gist is that Horry (a Spur) laid out Nash (a Sun) and now Stoudamire and Diaw (of the Suns) are suspended because they got off the bench and went on the floor, even though they were never within 10 feet of Spurs player and Horry followed up his hard foul with a confrontation with another Suns player. Basically, it's BS to the 50th degree. The NBA is being driven into the ground by the powers that be, and this is not going to help at all.
|Jeremy - 1.21 Gigawatts!?!?|
|The showed the altercation on ESPN about 900 times and Steven A Smith was brought on to talk about it. The said that by NBA rule those two players would be suspended but that it was bull.|
|Scott - 6225 Posts|
|That was a fullblown body check. Horry is excited about the Stanley Cup Playoffs, apparently.|
|Jon - 1000000 posts (and counting!)|
I agree that it's unfortunate that they suspended the two players (although really, sports are just as much about the drama of this type of thing anyway), BUT overall, I agree with the decision to suspend the players. You know why? Because it's the rule. And just in case anyone is going to chime in about following the spirit of the rule rather than the letter, don't bother. David Stern was on PTI on Wednesday and hit the nail right on the head. This suspension is following the letter AND the spirit of the law. People leaving the bench, for whatever reason, during a fight, creates a situation with greatly increased chances for the fight escalating. Stoudamire unquestionably left the bench area and came all the way over to the edge of the fight. If you watch the tape, (Stern also pointed this out on PTI), the referee actually had to shift his attention from breaking up the fight so that he could keep Amare from getting any closer. It didn't end up meaning much, it appears, but it could have. Either way, clearly he had at least a tiny effect on the thing, so there's no way to even argue that he was completely separate from it.
The rule isn't there just for people who come over and are throwing punches. And it's not just for players no one cares about. It's for any player who leaves the bench area during an altercation. This is clearly the case. Furthermore, you could argue that the rule being in place is what stopped Amare from getting as far as he did (his coaches started holding him back) and what kept the other players from going there in the first place. So now we want to not follow through with the consequences of the rule? Why? So that next time people know that it won't be enforced and the whole team goes strolling out to see what's up? It only takes one person mistaking one person's intentions for that situation to turn into a 24 man brawl. Which is exactly what the rule is there to stop.
I've heard a lot of arguments and discussion on this and have had somewhat mixed feelings, but when it comes down to it, I think the decision that was made was fair and correct. People like to paint that point of view as being "obsessed with the letter of the law" or "too black and white," but it's not. I think the decision shows a correct understanding of the rule and the purpose behind it.
Obviously it's too bad that players were suspended. But most arguments about it seem to be focusing on that point. That it's a downer. That it's going to hurt the game. That it's going to make it tougher on the Suns. (Really? Having two of their best players out is going to make it tough? Well in that case, forget the suspension altogether!) Others debate the merits of the rule being in place to begin with. That's at least CLOSER to being relevant, but I think still misses the point. That's basically a separate issue from the suspensions.
In summary, the rule is there for certain situations. This was such a situation. I don't think I've heard one argument against the suspensions that wasn't based mostly in emotional arguments about how the punishment or the rule is a bummer.
And you know what? The outcome IS a bummer, but punishments have that sort of effect, even when they are right.
|Jon screwed with this 3 times, last at 05/17/2007 4:52:28 am|
|Micah - 584 Posts|
I'll chime in exactly with the spirit of the law argument. Its good to know you also think that 75-year old men growing pot in their basement for their glaucoma and cancer deserve to be thrown in jail for the 10-year mandatory minimum.....and that all gay men who have had sex should be thrown in jail in the 14 states that have laws against sodomy...or that the designated driver who drives their 4 drunk friends home should get arrested for an open container violation when one of their idiot friends has a half-drank fifth of vodka on him....thats the rule
All laws and rules are subject to interpretation accoring the to context in which they are being enforced. Thats why we have judges and courts and NBA disciplinary boards. The fact that the NBA is unwilling to interpret anything according to the situation and context of the incident is as ridiculous as mandatory minimum sentences in our judicial system. Boris Diaw barely even left the bench...and Raja Bell shoved Horry and only drew a technical foul. Surely the person who gets up, takes two steps forward and then turns around deserves a suspension while the person ACTUALLY FIGHTING just deserves a technical foul.
|Alex - 3619 Posts|
|It's a dumb law to start with and certainly it's hard to argue that they things turned out was "right". And certainly Stern was in a tough position. There is some sort of committee that hands down punishement though, it seems like they should be able to use some discretion. And I can still attempt to blame Stern for the rule still be there in the first place, although from his Dan Patrick interview Stern made it sound likes he's just a little puppet that's indebted to his masters, the owners. Which is sad if it's true.|
|Jeremy - 9424 Posts|
To be fair to Jon I don't think his point is that the letter of the law should always be followed blindly and without exception, just because in this one case he thought it should be.
I see the arguments on both sides. It's lame to punish players that didn't do anything more then someone who was actually involved with the incident.
Jon's point, however, that players leaving the bench can escalate the situation is valid. A couple Suns get off the bench and walk out there, a couple Spurs who don't know what they have planned follow suit, the Suns that just got up see the Spurs players getting up and assume they are coming out there for a confrontation, they beat them to the punch, and a riot ensues.
Best case scenario it's still a couple extra guys to keep an eye on.
Veering off course: What is the legal rational for sodomy to be a crime in the first place?
Edit: Plus it would be a perfectly valid position to believe the letter of the law should be followed no matter what. If you let one thing slide, say the "half-drank fifth of vodka," what about a bottle, what about 5 bottles, what if the passengers where having a kegger?
|Jeremy messed with this at 05/17/2007 1:17:59 pm|
|Jon - 1 bajillion posts|
Micah, I think I understand your argument but can't say I agree with it much. For one thing, I think the comparisons aren't accurate. Not accurate in describing my stance or in describing the situation itself.
I'm not sure there is a great comparison or analogy for this situation, but if I were to use one, I think I'd be more likely to say it's like someone speeding down a mostly empty road, maybe passing one car, not harming anyone in any way, but speeding nonetheless. It's fair to give a ticket. Maybe the officer could give a warning, but maybe it's a particularly troublesome area they don't want speeding in. So they go with the ticket. Which is fair.
But it's hardly that easy. Someone else might say the more apt analogy is that the guy is speeding because his friend is in the car and the friend is injured. So the cop shouldn't give the ticket; the guy is hurt after all. And then someone else would retort that it's not like that, but more like a guy speeding on his way to visit his friend who just got dumped. A worthy cause, but not enough to speed for probably, so the ticket is fair. A more cynical person might even say that it's like a guy speeding to go get in on a fight his buddy was in.
Frankly, I don't really like any of them. And I made them up.
And while I appreciate the questions your comment and comparisons raise, I can't agree with the idea that those examples are that applicable to the situation.
Maybe I'm wrong in understanding what you wrote, but it seems to me that the comparisons you made deal with extenuating types of circumstances. Maybe innocent types of acts that get swept up under a law that's intended for something different. Maybe "minor" offenses clumsily lumped in with more severe offenses. (Am I close with those statements?) Also, you seemed to include at least one law due to it being seemingly ludicrous as a law in the first place. Maybe I'm wrong in all those characterizations of your comment, but since we're not face to face, I'll just continue as if I'm correct and you can set the record straight later if you want.
As for the NBA rule being bad in the first place, I don't really have anything against someone having that opinion. I don't think my original comment really spoke to that issue one way or another. Though for the record, I think it's a fairly decent rule as I understand it. But again, I think that's mostly a debate for a different time.
As for whether Amare and Diaw's leaving of the bench is a situation that's special in some way because of extenuating circumstances, I just don't see it. As I understand the rule, it is exactly for these types of situations. It's there to keep people in the bench area even if they aren't going out to fight and even if they don't have any big impact by walking out there. I don't see why this case is special in any way. And I don't think it's the NBA blindly following a rule or a mandatory sentence. To me, an extenuating circumstance would be like if somehow they were made to leave the bench area by some force out of their control. Or there were some greater reason for them to be on the court. But there wasn't. Frankly, I haven't watched Diaw much, but Stoudamire I know certainly left on his own accord. And I can't read his mind, but I'm pretty sure there wasn't some other great pressing need for him to be out on the court - aside for him entering the area of the scuffle, which is exactly what the rule is there to prevent, no matter what his intentions. That's not some overly strict reading of the rule, it's the spirit of the rule. As I understand it, that really is, more or less, what the rulemakers had in mind. So, again, I don't see this as some unusal technicality where they technically left the bench area, but they didn't leave for the normal reasons someone would. It looks typical to me.
If someday, there's a fight and someone gets pushed out onto the court, and the NBA suspends that person for leaving the bench, that's blindly following the rule. If someone gets up to give a choking fan the Heimlich during a fight, and he's suspended for it, that's blindly following the letter of the law but missing the spirit. But someone heading toward the scuffle for a reason known only to him is actually a situation the rule is there to address. I think the NBA has actually been consistent on that for quite some time now.
As for Bell, I agree that if he fought he should get a suspension. But if that's the case, that's a mistake made by the NBA on mis-penalizing him, not a mistake on penalizing people who left the bench area.
Not that it was really raised much here, but I do understand the reaction aspect of seeing your teammate pummelled and instinctively running over to him. But I think that again falls somewhat under the category of "fairness of the rule in the first place" or "the specifics of the language." As it relates to this situation and how you could justify what these guys did, the problem I see is that all those other players DIDN'T leave the bench area. So, even though we all are built a little differently, the fact that everybody else stayed there doesn't bode well for that argument holding up. At least not to the point that the league can write the whole thing off to instinct. But again, I don't find that argument ludicrous by any means and it certainly does make you think about the approprietness of the rule. (or is it "propriety"? I guess they're both correct words.)
|Jon perfected this 3 times, last at 05/19/2007 3:41:45 am|