Report: Heat Suspended Dion Waiters for Instagram Boat Picture During Illness

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IIIDecember 16, 2019

MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 18:  Dion Waiters #11 of the Miami Heat looks on against the Houston Rockets during the second half at American Airlines Arena on October 18, 2019 in Miami, Florida. 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 Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Dion Waiters' latest suspension was caused by Instagram.

According to Ethan Skolnick of Five Reasons Sports Network and later confirmed by the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson, the Miami Heat's decision to suspend their 28-year-old guard "was inspired by an Instagram post of Waiters hanging out on a boat during a time when the team was made to believe he was unavailable because he was sick."

The Heat announced Waiters' six-game suspension without pay on Dec. 12 and cited "failure to adhere to team policies, violation of team rules and continued insubordination." He will be eligible to return after Miami's Dec. 23 game.

Jackson additionally reported that this suspension, Waiters' third of the season, "has left Miami determined to move on":

"One source said every option is 'on the table' in trying to achieve that, noting the preference is to keep him away so that he doesn't hurt team chemistry. 

"The Heat is open to a buyout of the final year-and-a-half of his contract, but Waiters at this point has been disinclined to accept anything less than $12.1 million he's owed this year and the $12.7 million he's due to make next season. That $12.1 million salary for this season has been reduced by $1.4 million because of the three suspensions, which cover 17 games."

Waiters has not played at all this season for the Heat.

Waiters first served a one-game suspension due to conduct detrimental to the team, missing the Heat's regular-season opener on Oct. 23.

"There were a number of unacceptable incidents this week, culminating with his unprofessional conduct on the bench last night," Miami team president Pat Riley said in a statement. "As a consequence, I feel we had to suspend him."

Waiters was upset in the preseason that head coach Erik Spoelstra did not start him because the team wanted Waiters "in Miami Heat shape."

Miami then handed Waiters a 10-game suspension on Nov. 10, again citing detrimental conduct. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst had reported on Nov. 9 that Waiters had "experienced a 'panic attack' on the team's charter flight [on Nov. 7] after consuming a THC-infused edible."

Woj and Windhorst added: "Waiters missed the game in Phoenix because of a stomach ache and was seeking relief when he took an edible he was unfamiliar with, sources said. League rules prohibit the use of THC, one of the main compounds in cannabis."

This is not what the Heat envisioned when they re-signed Waiters to a four-year, $52 million contract in July 2017. Since then, the 2012 fourth overall pick has appeared in 74 games across the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. His usage was limited, at least in part, after undergoing ankle surgery in January 2018.

Waiters is more disposable with the Heat beginning this season hot, currently sitting at 19-7 and second in the Eastern Conference.