The NBA Should Throw the Book at Andrew Bynum

Lisa HornePac-12 and Big 12 Lead WriterJanuary 28, 2009

For those of you who missed last night's Lakers-Bobcats game, you missed a few things. For one, you missed a team owning the Los Angeles Lakers, so far this season. You also missed Kobe Bryant fouling out, a huge rarity.

But the biggest miss was also the most disgusting—Lakers center Andrew Bynum's dirty play on Bobcats small forward Gerald Wallace.

This wasn't just a cheap shot—it was dirty. A flagrant 2 dirty shot, but the refs didn't call it that way. If you can't beat them, beat them?

See Wallace gasping for breath, in pain, and no one really helping him in the video. It's enough to make you sick.

Bynum has really been playing some good ball lately, but you have to wonder if his immaturity is rearing its ugly head. Bynum never went to college, never played in any high-pressure collegiate tournaments, and was drafted by the Lakers at age 17, so maybe he can't handle it. Maybe, he's acting out like any teenager would. Except he's 21 years old. He's supposedly a man. And legally responsible for his actions.

The legal definition of battery is: "The act must result in one of two forms of contact. Causing any physical harm or injury to the victim—such as a cut, a burn, or a bullet wound—could constitute battery, but actual injury is not required. Even though there is no apparent bruise following harmful contact, the defendant can still be guilty of battery; occurrence of a physical illness subsequent to the contact may also be actionable."


You be the judge. Just because men are involved in a game of contact does not excuse them from avoiding charges of battery. There is no doubt—Bynum did not play the ball, threw his forearm across Wallace's chest and his elbow caused a partially collapsed lung and a non-displaced fracture of a rib. This is serious stuff here. Wallace is still in the hospital.

Just what will the NBA decide to do? One game suspension? Ten-game suspension? Does it matter? One player is gearing up for a road trip while another is lying in the hospital after having a tube inserted into his chest to help re-inflate a lung.

Bynum committed battery on Wallace, and should be charged with the crime. The NBA may not word it that way, but what happened on that court could have killed Wallace if his rib had been displaced and pierced his heart. This isn't funny, it's not entertaining, and it's a sad state of affairs when a professional player can't control his emotions during a game. Enough of the "he's young" excuses—he acted like a punk.

A one-month suspension should be the minimum the NBA doles out to Bynum, as that is probably how long Wallace will be recuperating from this injury. Finally, there is this question that needs to be asked:

If Kobe Bryant had been on the receiving end of this type of flagrant foul, wouldn't there be more uproar? And a huge suspension handed out to the player who took out the NBA's MVP?