Reaction to Stackhouse's SuspensionJohn 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