Last weekend the Dallas Mavericks swept the defending NBA Champion L.A. Lakers out of the playoffs. For those of us that love parody and the underdog it was a wonderful thing to see. Unfortunately game 4 of the series turned into a rout and several of the Lakers turned into thugs. The most egregious of which was Andrew Bynum.
Bynum committed a flagrant foul (see Video here) in the 4th quarter of the Lakers’ game 4 loss. This play is one of the dirtiest and most cowardly I’ve ever seen. J.J. Barea beats his man and drives to the basket for what should be an uncontested layup and is met in the air by an elbow to the ribs by Bynum. Barea falls to the floor and remains there in pain for several minutes. Bynum was immediately ejected from the game and the remaining minutes were played without further incidents. After the game Bynum showed no remorse for what had happened and brushed it off like it wasn’t a big deal. The Mavericks and members of his own team felt differently.
On Tuesday, 2 days after the incident, Bynum releases an apology for what he had done to Berea. “My actions … don’t represent me, my upbringing, this franchise or any of the Laker fans out there that want to watch us and want us to succeed. Furthermore, and more importantly, I want to actually apologize to J.J. Barea for doing that. I’m just glad that he wasn’t seriously injured in the event and all I can say is, I’ve looked at [the replay], it’s terrible and it definitely won’t be happening again.” I think that it’s good that he has apologized but, honestly, I don’t believe him.
This wasn’t like Lamar Odem’s foul when he tries to run through a Dallas player to keep that player from setting a pick. Bynum launched himself at a defenseless player that is about half his size. He didn’t even attempt to play the ball and the look in his eye afterward told me that he wanted to hurt Barea. His indifference after the game screams that he knew what he was doing and was ok with it. He did what he set out to do and after realizing that he was going to get slapped by the league he comes out with a bogus apology.
He says that “My actions… don’t represent me, my upbringing, this franchise.” I believe him when he says that it doesn’t represent his upbringing simply because I don’t know his family and I would like to think that no one is raised to act like that. The rest of it is just false. If your actions don’t represent you then what does? Bynum has committed a similar foul (see Video here or here)before so when he says it won’t happen again I just can’t believe him. As for the Lakers, 3 players were ejected for flagrant fouls during the series so it would appear that his actions do represent what the Lakers are about. I’m not saying it represents every member of the team but obviously there is a lack of class and composure on that team if this happens more than once.
Sometime after Bynum’s apology the NBA announced that they were fining the Lakers’ center $25,000 for taking off his jersey while still on the court after being ejected. The league also announced that Bynum would be suspended for the first 5 games of the regular season next year. After all is said and done it amounts to Bynum being out $702,272. This isn’t enough. Cheap shots like this can’t be permitted in basketball or any other sport. Make an example of every player that commits these fouls and suspend them for 10 games. This will cost them more than 10% of their yearly salary and for a guy like Bynum it would be more than $1 million. If they are repeat offenders then the league should up the suspensions to half the season. Legislate these plays out of the sport. It is a privilege to play in the NBA and if a player can’t respect the game, the Association, or their fellow players then they shouldn’t be a part of it.
Author of Can Talk
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