David Stern's NBA: Where Rules Go To Die

Ryan WinnAnalyst IMay 2, 2009

ATLANTA - APRIL 28: NBA Commissioner David Stern holds a press conference before Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics during the 2008 NBA Playoffs at the Philips Arena on April 28, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

Have you ever seen such a paradox in a last name?

As expected, the NBA decided on Friday that Boston Celtics point guard Rajon "Greatest Point Guard in the League" Rondo will not be further reprimanded for his throwing of Chicago Bulls point guard Kirk Hinrich in Game Six on Thursday night.

The NBA, which could have suspended Rondo for Game Seven, decided the play will stand as a flagrant foul.

Let the hypocrisy begin.

In the same week, Stern decided, upon further review, that Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard's elbow-punch warranted a one-game suspension.

But just the night before, Rondo (yes, the same Rondo) gave Bulls center Brad Miller a fish-hook he will never forget, though that didn't earn a suspension.

Something isn't kosher here.

Let's take a look at some of Stern's most notable double standards, which are particularly strange considering none of them have favored the superstars of the league.

During a Playoff series in May 2007, San Antonio Spurs forward Robert "Will Smith" Horry body-checked Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash into the scorer's table. The hit forced Stern to slap a two-game suspension on Horry.

And in that same game—within seconds of the hit—Phoenix Suns forwards Amar'e Stoudemire and Boris Diaw were given one-game suspensions for "leaving the immediate vicinity of the bench."

In other words, they stood up.

Comparing that ruckus to the one that occurred in Game Six, Rondo should receive a two-game suspension, and Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro (among several others) should receive a one-game suspension for leaving the bench area. Actually, Del Negro sprinted the length of the court.

Instead, they get nothing.

Maybe Stern isn't the only incompetent one involved here. Who is the official overseeing all of this action, you may ask?

That'd be Joey Crawford, a.k.a. Tim Duncan's mortal enemy.

In a 2007 series between the Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks, Crawford got into a war of words with Duncan. After Duncan complained about an offensive foul call, Crawford gave him a technical.

Okay, just doing his job.

But then, after Duncan found a later foul call bogus—while sitting on the bench—Crawford gave him his second tech, which forces ejection.

It was all because Duncan laughed at the ridiculousness of the situation.

Crawford then reportedly offered to square off one-on-one with Duncan, which led to an indefinite suspension from Stern.

And long before that, Crawford showed his inability to officiate correctly when 120 personal fouls, nine technical fouls, and two ejections took place in just two games of the 2003 Playoffs.

It is the perfect storm of hypocrisy and incompetency.

So what could be the reasoning behind letting the boys play this time around and giving Rondo no further punishment?

It is obviously not based on Rajon being a good boy before this; his lashing of Miller, which required stitches, is evidence of his demeanor.

To me, it has to be two things:

  1. Rondo vs. Rose is generating too much interest

Somebody tell me how many times the media have said this is a "classic duel of young point guards"?

Stern may be a dummy, but he is no fool. He knows how much money the competition is racking in, and I can't think of a bigger money glutton than the commish.

Suspending Rondo for the pivotal Game Seven would lower the ratings far too low for his liking, whereas leaving him in generates more viewers. Cue the Dr. Evil laugh.

2.   Bulls-Celtics is turning into a born-again rivalry

Rondo is not going against only Rose; he now has a target on his back that Hinrich, Miller, and the city of Chicago are all aiming at. With the venomous feelings he produces, and the fact that his entire team backs him, you have an all-out brawl brewing between two teams in a season-deciding game.

Paul Pierce shattered the inside of his nose, Hinrich has a gash above his right eye, Miller is constantly tonguing at thread in his mouth—this is an MMA fight with an orange ball.

By leaving the biggest culprit in, you are re-living Bulls-Pistons and Celtics-Lakers. To Stern, that's more important than the rules.

Game Seven will be a blood bath, and it's on Stern's hands.


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