Suspended Animation

Not that this wasn’t unexpected, but I think David Stern’s really gone overboard with the post-brawl suspensions. For one thing, from a basic PR standpoint I think overreacting to the fight in the post-Palace era actually does more to re-enforce the idea that the NBA has a discipline problem than it does to enhance the league’s image. The qualitative difference between players scuffling with each other in response to a dirty on-court play and players going into the stands to mix it up with misbehaving fans strikes me as enormous and something that should have been kept front-and-center. You’ve got to penalize guys who were throwing punches, but there’s no need for it to be this drastic.

What’s more, this just seems fundamentally unfair to the Nuggets to me. On balance, this incident was the Knicks’ fault. Collins’ foul was over-the-line and came in a situation where there was no call for hard fouls of any sort. Then, as best I can tell, it was Nate Robinson who transformed a post-flagrant dispute into a fight. But the balance of punishment that’s being doled out is overwhelmingly against the Nuggets. The suspensions to Robinson, Jeffries, and Collins won’t hurt the team very much and New York had little to lose anyway. Ten games without JR Smith and fifteen without Carmelo Anthony will probably be the difference-maker in keeping Denver out of the playoffs. It doesn’t sit right with me, though Wolves, Warriors, and Clippers fans will presumably hail Stern’s brand of harsh justice.

On an unrelated note, I’d like to associate myself with Bethlehem Shoals’ take on Allen Iverson.