Delonte West Speaks on $25,000 Fine, Says Ear Poking Should Not Be in the Game

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Delonte West Speaks on $25,000 Fine, Says Ear Poking Should Not Be in the Game
Harry How/Getty Images

What was Delonte West's reaction to the news that he'd been fined $25,000 by the NBA for sticking his finger in Gordon Hayward's ear?

He took the news well, but he said he might be without cable in a few days. 

Oh, the NBA.

Only in professional sports does a $25,000 fine equal what is made in roughly two-and-a-half games—on a veteran's minimum deal of $1.8 million for the season. Amazing, isn't it?

I appreciate West's humor in dealing with the fine, but also think it's important to note that he policed himself, not only saying that the play was unacceptable, but taking responsibility for his actions when he serves—whether he likes it or not—as a role model.

From Eddie Sefko:

"…It's a play that shouldn't be in the game. It's not a good example to set for the youth that we're trying to teach to play the right way."

Coach Rick Carlisle said he had a chat with the starting guard about controlling his emotions on the court. The play in question came after some physical interaction between West and Hayward, the Jazz's 6-7 guard.

"He (West) and I sat down and talked about that incident," Carlisle said. "And he understands. I made it clear to him that that's unacceptable. He's a competitive guy. But your competitiveness has to manifest in the right way.

"By and large, he's had a tremendous year for us. And he's done the right things. I see that as an isolated incident, and I don't see it happening again."

It's always interesting to see how professional athletes deal with the reality of serving as role models that they often didn't sign up to be. It's nice to see that West is sending a message that his action was wrong, while also stressing that it's about playing the game the right way.

Respect the game. This is something that every athlete says regardless of the sport that they're playing, but the words mean more when a player steps up and acknowledges that, in a moment of heightened emotion, they did something wrong.

West will have to pay a fine, and he won't soon forget it. For the young basketball fans who were watching at home, his words will serve as the reminder for them. In respecting the game, you must respect your opponent.

A silly play, a large fine, a lesson learned. While West has had an erratic path to these Mavericks, it's nice to see him taking accountability. 

Yes, we're talking about taking accountability for sticking a finger in an opponent's ear. I'll say it again: oh, the NBA. May it never change. 

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