Ever since Metta World Peace's—nee Ron Artest—famous malice at the palace incident in Detroit, wherein Artest climbed into the spectator viewing area known as "the stands" and began punching away, the NBA and Commissioner David Stern have attempted to repair the game's image by separating unsporting activity which occurs on the court and taunts, jeers, boos and cheers which originate from the stands.
On Thursday night, Utah Jazz center-forward Derrick Favors was ejected by official Matt Boland on the spot for throwing a ball into the stands after Boland correctly called an offensive foul against him late in the third quarter of the Jazz versus Dallas Mavericks game.
While many Utah fans are criticizing Boland for immediately ejecting Favors after issuing him only one technical foul for throwing the ball into the stands, the player's actions necessitated his ejection.
Boland was correct to eject Favors for this behavior, and here's why.
When the league revised their rules in the wake of the Artest incident, the rules committee was very concerned with player behavior as it relates to spectators.
Specifically, the following provision was added to the NBA Rules Book as Rule 10-IV-d: "Any player who throws or kicks the ball directly into the stands with force, regardless of the reason or where it lands, will be assessed a technical foul and ejected."
That seems straightforward enough, though the only question is did Favors' toss meet the "with force" requirement of Rule 10-IV-d?
The simple answer is yes.
"With force" refers to an intentional act of releasing, batting or kicking the ball so that it will land away from the player who has released or kicked it. As specified by the penultimate phrase of the rule, it does not matter if the ball was arrested at the team bench before bouncing into the stands.
The rule is very clear: a player who throws a ball into or in the direction of the stands for any reason is automatically ejected.
Given the language of the NBA Rule Book, it is perspicuously obvious the official made the correct call in ejecting Favors for his unsportsmanlike action.
The Dallas Mavericks ultimately won the contest, 94-91.
Gil Imber is Bleacher Report's Rules Featured Columnist and owner of Close Call Sports, a website dedicated to the objective and fair analysis of close or controversial calls in sports.