Centers' Little Helper

Dennis Hans, unrenowned former adjunct professor of mass comm and American foreign policy, relentlessly exposed the Bush administration’s “techniques of deceit” BEFORE the Iraq war, when it could have made a difference (see links). For decades he has fought baseball’s discrimination against lefthanded infielders and promoted his ingenious clockwise solution. A lifelong advocate for a flowing, non-brutal, flop-free NBA, he now champions the cause of its second-class citizens: the centers.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

NBA values out of whack
Reggie Evans squeezes Chris Kaman’s testicles in a tussle under the boards and gets a fine but no suspension. Cliff Robinson violates NBA drug policy — presumably for testing positive for marijuana, though Robinson maintains his innocence and seeks a re-test (false positives are rare but they have occurred in the NBA testing program) — and is suspended for five games. That means the Nets are without their second-best Shaq defender for the remainder of the series with the Heat. Friday night, without Robinson, the Nets lost a close game, and it appears that the suspension will be the determining factor in the series. This stinks.

Any league that welcomes alcohol sponsors should not be suspending players for using a less dangerous, albeit illegal, drug such as pot. I speak as a non-toker and very light drinker who can’t help but notice that alcohol wreaks far more havoc than marijuana. If a player has a problem with pot — as has been the case with Quyntel Woods, Damon Stoudamire and some others — intervention and perhaps carrot-and-stick rewards and penalties to help the guy stay clean are called for. If there’s no evidence of a problem, the NBA should simply look the other way. Just because Vin Baker, Chris Mullin, Jayson Williams and quite a few other players have had serious drinking problems doesn’t lead us to conclude that every player who enjoys beer or wine occasionally — or even regularly in moderation — needs alcohol counseling. The league should apply the same logic to pot.

If a player is physically and mentally ready for evening games and morning shootarounds and practices, that's a pretty good sign that any recreational use of booze or pot is not a problem in his life or career. Not a guarantee, but a pretty good sign. Robinson is respected and liked by his Net teammates and coaches; his discipline and professionalism are reflected in the fact that he's still productive at age 39. (Admitted pot smoker Robert Parish played NBA ball till he was 43 — the all-time longevity record.)

Also, there’s no good reason why Robinson’s suspension couldn’t wait till the start of the next season. Why punish his teammates so severely for an infraction (assuming he is indeed guilty) that’s tantamount to jaywalking? The NBA — especially its gutless Players Association — needs to quit kissing up to our govt’s drug warriors and make a stand for sensible drug policies. Most players don’t think there’s anything wrong, despite what the law states, with adults smoking pot occasionally. They should demand an NBA drug policy that reflects their sensible thinking, not one that kowtows to people they despise.


At 1:27 PM, Blogger laura said...

that is truly a travesty. i think the nba went a little overboard with some hard fouls as well. i mean, sure--call the flagrant. but some of the hard fouls i saw weren't hard enough to merit suspension, like the one artest did on ginobbli (i do think artest was stupid to do it though).

as for evans, while what he did wasn't particularly violent, it was particularly violating. i have to admit--i laughed alot, when i know i wasn;t supposed to. yes, it's practically sexual harrassment. but i can't stop giggling when i should be cringing.

At 12:33 PM, Blogger Dennis Hans said...

My view is that the NBA could get along just fine without intentional fouls, hard or otherwise. It's just one more way the league subsidizes stiffs who can't make legit, non-fouling defensive stops and thus don't even try to.

If I were commish I'd give Artest about the same penalty for the intentional forearm to the face as for rushing into the stands in Detroit: 10 games. But he and everyone else would know from Day One that this potentially dangerous nonsense won't be tolerated.

I hear you on your Reggie reaction. It's not something you see every day. That's one for the time capsule.

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