Friday, January 20, 2006


NBA "Bull"

So, a man at work rushes to the aid of his wife who seems to be endangered by strangers that may or may not have been drinking. What should be his reward? How about suspending him from work!

Absurd? Well then, obviously you're not employed by the National Basketball Association!

Upon seeing his wife involved in a potential altercation with fans, New York Knicks forward Antonio Davis went into the stands Wednesday during a game against the Bulls (in Chicago). After less than a minute with Davis in the stands, the situation calmed and he returned to the court.

Per NBA rules after the Ron Artest-led
brawl in Detroit last season, Davis was immediately thrown out of the game.

That's fine. But suspending a guy five games, for essentially doing the right thing -- as even NBA officials admit?

"His conduct in the stands, I thought, was very reasonable," said Stu Jackson, the National Basketball Association's senior vice president for basketball operations. "He was calm, and the result was a good one, in that he got back down onto the floor without an incident erupting. But it brings to light really the danger that you have when a player enters the spectators' stands, in that at that point, we lose control of the situation and anything could have happened. Fortunately, in this situation, it didn't."

The league was not so fortunate 14 months ago when Indiana's Ron Artest went into the stands and attacked fans after he was hit with a plastic cup of beer or soda. Several teammates followed him into the stands, and the sight of players and fans trading punches was replayed for days on television. Artest was suspended for the rest of the season, and the league vowed to take a more stringent approach to player and fan misconduct.
So, because one idiot led a near-riot last year, a guy who tries to play the hero gets penalized?
Jackson cited "mitigating circumstances" in setting the Davis suspension at five games, but said that "any player going into the stands after this, automatically we would consider double-digit game suspensions."
Heaven forbid if a fire breaks out in an arena and the players try to come to the aid of fans. What will the league do then -- issue month-long penalties?

For those who care -- chivalry ain't dead: It's just been grievously wounded by excessively following rules, while forgetting the common-sense reason behind the laws in the first place.

Meanwhile, absent Davis (and injured point guard Stephon Marbury), the Knicks lost their fourth game in a row, following a six-game winning streak.

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