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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Reaction to Stackhouse's Suspension

John Jackson of the Chicago Sun-Times does not believe that Jerry Stackhouse should have been suspended:

O'Neal was going in for an uncontested layup on a fast break. Stackhouse's job was to foul O'Neal hard enough to ensure he wouldn't be able to convert the layup for a potential three-point play.

How else do you do that against a 7-1, 325-pound giant except with great -- perhaps even excessive -- force?

When I watched the game the thought never even occurred to me that Stackhouse might be suspended. ABC's Mike Breen and Hubie Brown never even brought up that possibility and in their remarks after the game players and coaches from both teams downplayed the severity of the incident. The first time I heard anyone talk about Stackhouse being suspended was during Sportscenter. I don't believe that ESPN influenced what happened--it's just strange that in the immediate aftermath of the foul that no one seemed to be thinking that Stackhouse would or should be suspended. ESPN's Tim Legler said that the foul looked worse each time he watched a replay. I guess flagrant fouls, like beauty, are in the eyes of the beholder, because I have seen the play several times and it looked the same to me each time--Stackhouse tried to make sure that Shaq would not score and would have to shoot two free throws. Stackhouse's play may have been a bit overexuberant perhaps, but when Shaq is driving to the hoop uncontested and Stackhouse is bearing down on him full speed it is hard to precisely measure the force that one applies. James Posey's foul on Kirk Hinrich earlier in the playoffs was much worse; Hinrich was in the middle of the floor, was not in a scoring position and Posey just leveled him with a cross body check without even making a pretense of going after the ball. Stackhouse at least attempted to go for the ball, even if Shaq's size and the angle of the play made it difficult for him to reach the ball. Posey was only suspended for one game. Either he should have received a stiffer punishment or Stackhouse should have gotten a lighter one.

posted by David Friedman @ 4:28 PM



At Sunday, June 18, 2006 4:22:00 AM, Blogger JF said...

Suspension should only be possible if a player was ejected from the game in which the foul occurred. That would stop the videotape culture -- which messes up PGA golf when TV viewers call in infractinos to rules officials -- from infecting the NBA. The officials in the NBA see the foul in the context of the game -- if they don't eject the player, then there should be no possibility of suspension.

At Sunday, June 18, 2006 12:22:00 PM, Blogger illest said...

very true

At Sunday, June 18, 2006 4:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that no one has mentioned the prospect of Stackhouse getting even with Shaq for busting his nose up earlier in the Finals.

I don't think that Stack should have been suspended, but I guess the NBA is trying to be firm on the "above the shoulders" aspect in the definition of a flagrant foul.

At Sunday, June 18, 2006 7:01:00 PM, Blogger illest said...

That is the reason he did it.

At Monday, June 19, 2006 4:08:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Alternaviews, in general I agree that suspensions should not be levied on players who were not ejected but sometimes officials just miss blatant misconduct that is only later found on tape (Jason Terry's punch to Michael Finley's crotch being a recent example). So if you make a hard and fast rule that players who are not ejected cannot be suspended then you may let some guys skate who legitimately deserve suspension. That said, there should be a pretty high standard for "upgrading" a punishment, particularly on a play that was seen by the officials, as you correctly put it, in the context of the game.

Jarrett, in my original post about the game I mentioned that retaliation may have at least been in the back of Stackhouse's mind but I have not heard other people bring that up. Even if Stackhouse was thinking that, the level of contact that he delivered did not warrant a suspension. Most people who have played basketball have had the experience of being fouled or elbowed and later returning the favor, not with the intent to injure but just to say, "Hey, there are two of us out here and you are not going to push me around."


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