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Will the new CBA give David Stern less power to punish players?

Nov 30, 2011, 6:53 PM EST

Ron Artest Parade

TrueHoop’s Henry Abbott suspects that it might:

David Stern has more than a little power, which is especially clear when players really break the rules.

After the unrestrained brawl known as “the Auburn Hills incident,” for example, the fortunes of the Pacers and Pistons franchises and several players hung in the balance. Were there hearings to be had? Was there testimony? Is there a judge or a panel that metes out punishments in such cases? Are there published guidelines?

There is none of that. In that case, and in many other cases, the commissioner essentially has the right to punish players as he sees fit…

…Hunter said a couple of weeks ago that his list of “B” issues runs to six pages of “issues that are very important that we have yet to resolve.”

Asked to name some of the issues on his “B” list Hunter first identified the league’s age limit, and then named just one other: “commissioner discipline.”

We’ve gotten used to swift justice being handed out by the commissioner when players step out of line. While a more democratic process would certainly seem like a good idea in theory, Stern’s first priority is generally damage control, as he is still attempting to get mainstream America to embrace the NBA game the same way they embrace the college game every March.

If swift suspensions aren’t handed down when players run into the stands and start punching people, that goal could become harder to attain. Still, fair is fair, and the argument that Stern has too much power when handing out suspensions has merit to it on an ideological effort. The players may also want the controversial “dress code” revoked — personally, I like seeing players in business clothes when they’re not playing (and it’s often mutually beneficial — how much extra endorsement money do you think Michael Jordan made during his career for suiting up after games), but ultimately the players should get to decide what they want to wear if they’re not playing. And if this lockout agreement blows up because of a hooded sweater impasse, I will actually go insane.

  1. trbowman - Nov 30, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    I miss the days where I could post a comment and have it immediately appear, as opposed to having some geek intern approve of it.

    (Not that said geek intern is going to approve this comment).

    • trbowman - Nov 30, 2011 at 8:42 PM

      Thank you geek intern.

  2. skids003 - Dec 1, 2011 at 8:03 AM

    Yes, I think the players shouldn’t be disciplined if they run into the stands and punch a fan; after all, the fans should worship the ground they walk on, not boo them or anything like that. Remember, these guys are owed everything they get, and more.

    So no, the commissioner shouldn’t have any power over them. They should be alowed to do whatever they want. Anything else is an affront to their greatness.

    • Andrés Garcia - Dec 1, 2011 at 8:41 AM

      Look closely kids. This is what is commonly known as a Straw-Man argument.

      You see, no one is actually saying that players shouldn’t be disciplined. What is under consideration is exactly who, and by way of which process, disciplinary measures should be carried out.

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