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Hornets coach Williams fined $25,000 for concussion comments

Nov 6, 2012, 6:33 PM EDT

Monty Williams AP

Our own Brett Pollakoff called this in his original post on the news — Hornets coach Monty Williams was going to be writing a check to the league.

Tuesday the NBA fined Williams $25,000 for his comments critical of the league’s concussion policy.

For some background, Hornets star (and No. 1 overall pick) Anthony Davis suffered a concussion last Friday after taking an inadvertent elbow from teammate Austin Rivers.

The next night the Hornets traveled to Davis’ hometown of Chicago to take on the Bulls but Davis did not make the much-anticipated trip. Under the league’s concussion policy which began last season, Davis must pass a series of tests and be cleared by a league neurologist before he’s allowed to return to the court.

Williams went with the silly “old school tough guy comments” on the issue.

“He got touched up a little bit last night. That happens a lot in basketball. It’s just that now they treat everybody like they have white gloves and pink drawers and it’s getting old. It’s just the way the league is now….

“We’ve got to protect the players, but I think the players should have more say so in how they feel. I’m sure I had four or five concussions when I played, and it didn’t bother me. The NBA is doing what’s necessary to protect the players, but this is not the NFL. You don’t get hit in the head that much.”

The very point of the policy is to protect the players from themselves and teams pressuring them to play. This is not us guessing concussions are bad — there is a huge body of evidence showing that repeated concussions have serious long-term impacts on the brain. They need to fully heal. The league should not take risks like that with players’ health, there is a time to step in and say this is not something they can decide for themselves.

All of which is to say, Williams was wrong. And it’s going to cost him.

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