I don't know if any of you are into basketball, but this sport has always been my first love. I grew up watching John Stockton and Karl Malone play for the Jazz. I played backyard ball with the neighbor kids and at recess. I have always loved it.
Of course, this last season has given me reason to ground the Jazz and to be greatly disappointed in the league, both with players and with David Stern.
Late this season, Kobe Bryant from the LA Lakers and Joakim Noah from the Chicago Bulls have been fined for gay slurs. Kobe directed his at a referee, while Noah directed his at a fan from the opposing team (which is much worse, in my opinion). Both players were fined.
So let's break this down a little bit. Granted, I'm not sure how money works when a team goes into the playoffs, but there are 82 games in a regular NBA season.
2010/2011 salary: $24,806,250
per game, he makes: $302,515.24
amount fined: $100,000
percent of income fined: 0.004%
2010/2011 salary: $3,128,536 (next year, he will be making 10,000,000)
per game, he makes: $38,152.88
amount fined: $50,000
percent of income fined: 0.016%
So Kobe makes more in one game than the amount he was fined. $100,000 sounds like a lot of money to someone like you and me, but do you think this means anything to Kobe? I highly doubt it. With Noah, it would be like not playing one and a half games.
So if the punishment means nothing to these players...do you really think it's a punishment?
David Stern, in my opinion, needs to take lessons from Roger Goodell. Roger Goodell is the commissioner of the NFL. Last season, he suspended Ben Roethlisberger for six games. Roethlisberger was accused of rape during the off-season. The charges were dropped and he maintained his innocence during the incident.
So wait...the starting quarterback for the Steelers (aka their superstar) was involved in an incident AWAY from the football field IN THE OFF-SEASON, he was not convicted of ANYTHING, and he was still suspended for six games, which is half the season?
Good on you, Goodell! Roger Goodell understands that even when you are not on the field, you are still a representative of the National Football League, and he won't stand for behavior that will defame his organization. This is someone who will make sure that the League maintains integrity and class, and will be an organization that is upstanding.
Now, I can't speak for what Goodell would do if he had to deal with a Kobe or a Noah situation. But I'm not impressed with David Stern and the way the league has handled these situations. The message that they are sending is that it does not matter. The players were fined because the league had to do something, so it imposed the bare minimum to appease the masses, and now everyone can go on their merry way.
This is a game that has always been part of my life. These are players who are hanging on posters in bedrooms of young kids, whose jerseys we wear, who we pay to go see play. These are supposed to be role models.
Thanks Kobe, for teaching those kids looking up to you that it's okay to call someone a "faggot" when you're really angry and frustrated with them.
On the other side, there are NBA players who are stepping up and taking a stand on things like this. You need to go here: http://youtu.be/PxZgVPf69zY and watch the commercial at the beginning of the clip. I couldn't believe it when I saw it airing on national television. The interview with Grant Hill was also really good.
This is the example I'm glad to see. These are the kind of players I admire.
And in a beautiful twist of irony, the Dallas Mavericks swept the Lakers and knocked them out of the playoffs, while the Miami Heat came back from behind to beat the Bulls last night, going up 3-1. The next time the Bulls lose, they're done for the season. Let that be a lesson!