Suspensions – The NBBA; National Basketball & Boxing Association
The New York Knicks and the Denver Nuggets First of all, let me start out by saying this. WHAT A JOKE! And when I say joke, I mean the hundreds of people spouting out stuff like “Carmelo Anthony should be gone for the year!” or “Mardy Collins should have more games suspended” and especially “George Karl and Isaiah Thomas should be suspended!” Don’t link George and Isaiah in the same group in this one. That is just plain stupid. Garbage. Ignorant.
Lets go over the whole incident, and then see if we can’t come to a conclusion on the whole thing.
Lets just agree on some stuff to get started, here. Karl left his studs in to run up the score on Isaiah. Thomas put in Mardy Collins to foul someone hard if they got close to the basket. During free throws prior to the brawl, Thomas told Anthony “Don’t go in the paint, you and Camby should be out of the game.” JR Smith went up for a dunk, Collins fouled Smith hard. The Brawl ensued. JR Smith puffed his chest out and got in Collins’ face. Collins held his ground. Nate Robinson (Mighty Mouse) came over and shoved Smith. Smith and Nate go wrestling into the stands. Egos got trampled, and now Melo comes over and tries to direct the situation. Jared Jeffries tries to stop everything. Melo walks around and punk-slap/hits Collins in the face, then moonwalks all the way down the court. Jeffries is pissed, he follows, trying to get back at Anthony. Sound about right. Watch the fight 50 times and when you agree, good.
Now, Carmelo was suspended 15 games, and though I’m okay with that suspension, my reasons are different than most. First of all, if I’m on a team, and the coach of the opposing team tells me I should be out of the game, and then warns me not to go in the paint, and then my best friend on the team gets fouled intentionally, I’m probably going to go punch someone. But it’s not going to be Marty, it’s going to be Isaiah. And after I punch him in the dome, I’m not going to run like a lightweight fighting Lennox Lewis, I’m going to stand in there and bust his chops again. So, sure, I suspend Melo, but only because he had time to think about what he was going to do, and pulled a hit and run on the Rookie. But more than 15 games is just too many. People out there not involved in sports who think this kid should be out for the year, go back to sitting at your desk, making Jamoca shakes, eating paint chips, or whatever else it is you do. What you have to think about in the Cermelo situation is Thomas threatening action against him and his teammates, and then a hard foul happening. What would you do? If you’re playing hoops at the Y and a kid on the other team says, “If anyone comes in the lane, I’m going to knock em out,” and your little brother comes down, drives to the rack, and gets smashed into the floor. That’s right, you’d come in pissed as all hell, ready to do battle. And then you think. And you don’t run over and punch a dude, I’m sure. But, you can understand a little bit, now.
JR Smith and Nate Robinson were suspended 10 games a piece. For Robinson, I’d say at least that much is deserved, because after the foul, he seemed to instigate the rest of the fray, and that’s coming from me, a guy who thinks as highly of Nate as anyone. He came in and wrestled Smith, I think he tossed at least an attempt at a punch, and he ran around with his fists up high like a damn fool.
JR on the other hand, just stood up for himself. And sure, its easy for onlookers to say, “He should have just let it go and walked away from the situation,” sure, but lets be honest, you don’t become an elite athlete, a guy who competes every day as hard as you can, and walk away from that situation. Think about it. Smith got in Collins’ face, and then when Nate came over biting at his ankles, he grabbed him and the two went at it for a couple seconds. Nate 10 games, maybe even 15 (If it was Melo in Nate’s position, he would have gotten 15 at least). But I understand Nate’s 10, because he didn’t hit and run. But JR should have had 5 games at the most. He didn’t walk away like a good boy, but his actions weren’t irrational.
Mardy Collins got 6 games. Why? The kid fouled someone hard, then stood there and took abuse. What did he do wrong? Hard fouls have always been part of the game, and just because his coach stuck him in there to make sure no one got free points, and a fight happened because he did his job, doesn’t mean he should get nicked like this. He got punched in the head, pushed around, and he didn’t retaliate at all. Shit, he should get a raise, not a suspension.
Jared Jeffries tried to keep everyone separated, and then ran after Melo when the start punched his teammate in the head and then ran like a freaking cheetah. Big deal. 1 game maybe, if just because his jersey was torn in the process. Protect your teammates. What did Jeffries really do to get suspended? Run after a guy who punched his friend in the face – that’s it. Suspension? In some parts of the world, you get metals for standing up for your men.
And last, the coaches. Karl, even if he was running up the score, telling his guys to only shoot threes until the last second of the game, shouldn’t have any action taken against him. So what. He didn’t direct a brawl, instigate a hard foul, or anything else. He wanted to embarrass a guy who embarrassed his good friend, big deal. Hell, I even understand that. However, Isaiah is another story. Though its his fault because he always manages to be to honest, being tough at the end of a game is something that has always happened in sports. But you can’t warn players on opposing teams if you’re a coach. Thomas too often crosses the line between player and coach, and this was one of those times. Old school or no school, Thomas should be reprimanded for his actions a few nights ago.
But, this is sports. And if people are trying to clean up sports, they should start to watch Ice Skating (aside from smashing knee caps of opposition), swimming, and soccer, where dives are just part of the game. These guys are big, strong, competitive, selfish, do anything to win, stand up like a man, get your teammates’ backs kind of guys. This will happen. But when will the Commisioner of the NBA pull his head out and actually look at what happened in a situation like this?