2007.05.20 They Still Left the Bench
You may remember that I'm a fan of the San Antonio Spurs (and Manu, but he's not in this story, really). Recently there was a bit of controversy involved with a player on that team fouling another player in an excessively hard way. Immediately after the foul, 2 players from the opposing team left the bench (which is against the rules) in support of their teammate. Very shortly afterwards, they came to their senses and returned to the bench area, without having involved themselves at all in the game or with other players. Despite the innocence of the move by those two players (since they didn't actually do anything), they were suspended for 1 game each, as is dictated by the rule. The original player on the Spurs was suspended 2 games.
The Spurs ended up winning the next game (with the 2 opposing players out, as well as one of their own), and the following game as well (still missing their player) to finish of the series. Ever since the suspension of the 2 opposing players was announced analysts, critics, fans, and others have been crying foul. They claimed that it was obvious that no ill action was taken, or intended by those two players (one of whom was one of the best players on the team), and that they should not have been suspended. They then go on to complain that the series was tainted because the commissioner of the NBA chose that time to enforce a rule unfairly. Given my bias in the series, you're undoubtedly aware of where I'm going to go from here.
I think those people just need to put a lid on it. Quit wasting your time trying to blame others, like the commissioner, or the player on the Spurs, or anybody else that those two players chose to break a rule. Don't waste your time saying, “You never know what would have happened if…” and things like that. I know exactly what happened—they broke a rule, and they have to pay the price for that.
One of the suspended opposing players said, “I am disappointed that the NBA looked at the letter of the rule and not the spirit of the rule. I admit I stepped on the court, and that I should have had some more restraint…” but I contend that such would be introducing a bit of subjectivity to the judgement. If you leave the immediate area of the bench, you get suspended, but if you leave the immediate area of the bench yet there is a visible halo above your head while walking towards the altercation… then we're all good? Ixnay.
I admit that had any additional Spurs been suspended, I probably wouldn't be singing the exact same song, but I feel like I am more of a letter of the law type person. Better luck next year Suns… no… wait… I take that back. Go Spurs Go.