Antonio Davis Suspended Five Games For Going Into The StandsThe NBA had to do it. As soon as Antonio Davis left the United Center court on Wednesday night and went into the stands, the NBA had no choice but to suspend him. Davis felt that his wife Kendra was being threatened by some heckling fans and understandably went to her defense--but after the horrible melee that occurred last year in the Palace, the NBA must have a no-tolerance policy regarding players going into the stands. As many commentators have already noted, all it would have taken is one knucklehead throwing a beer at Davis and the situation could have skidded horribly out of control. That being said, David Stern and Stu Jackson rightfully tempered justice with mercy and limited Davis' suspension to five games--Davis did not throw random haymaker punches a la Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson. The NBA has handled this situation as well as it possibly could, acting swiftly, decisively and reasonably, while making it clear that were it not for Davis' clean on-court and off-court record and the fact that he acted with restraint that he would have received a much longer suspension.
The next step that the NBA must take is to review its security procedures and the seating arrangements that are made for players' families, particularly family members of players from the visiting team. The NBA should also take a stronger stand against fans who cross the lines of propriety in terms of foul language and abusive conduct; buying a ticket entitles one to cheer, boo and even heckle in a good natured manner, but the bounds of civility are being crossed with increasing frequency, which is not good for the fans--particularly young kids and their families who are subjected to such conduct--the players or the game itself.
posted by David Friedman @ 6:58 PM