Last night, a frustrated Dwyane Wade clearly shoved Darren Collison to the ground in transition, earning himself a flagrant 1 foul. Many people immediately compared it to the Jason Smith foul on Blake Griffin, which was called a Flagrant 2, and earned Smith a 2 game suspension.
Even though the plays are similar, the league saw fit to not only not upgrade Wade’s foul to a Flagrant 2… it will not hand down any further punishment. And that’s opening the conspiracy floodgates.
There’s really little doubt as to whether this fits the criteria for a Flagrant 2:
Flagrant “2” (FFP2) – unnecessary and excessive contact committed by a player against an opponent. The opposing team is awarded two (2) free throws and possession and the player committing the foul is automatically ejected.
I’m not quite sure why the league didn’t believe the foul warranted any other punishment. Not even a fine. Especially when it announces something like this:
[Andrew] Bynum was fined $15,000 for failing to make himself available to the media following the Lakers’ practice on May 15. Bynum had 20 points and 14 rebounds in the Lakers’ 119-90 Game 1 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference semifinals.
[…] [Devin] Ebanks was fined $25,000 for actions prior to and following his ejection late in Game 1. With 2:18 remaining in the fourth quarter on Monday, Thunder center Cole Aldrich was called for a foul on the Lakers’ Josh McRoberts. The foul caused Thunder and Lakers players to get tangled up and Ebanks and Oklahoma City’s Royal Ivey were both called for technical fouls. Ebanks was subsequently ejected for something he said to the referee and removed his jersey as he made his way through the tunnel to the locker room.
So Andrew Bynum not talking to the media is worth $15,000. Devin Ebanks acted like an idiot and got fined $25,000. But Dwyane Wade steamrolled Darren Collison and all he got was a Flagrant 1.
Tell me how that makes sense.
I’d love to be reasonable, sit here and preach that the league doesn’t hold certain players to any higher standard. That may well be true. But it’s really hard to sell that when you consider the circumstances. Moments like this give people the legitimate right to ask “what if Collison had flattened Dwyane Wade? How many games would he have gotten then?”
The NBA puts itself in a position to be questioned. When it feeds conspiracy theorists with poor decisions like this, it’s hard to be reasonable and explain that such double standards aren’t good for the game. I want to believe that the fact that this was Dwyane Wade didn’t influence this decision. But honestly, that’s a tough sell right now.