Talk Ain’t Cheap in the NBA

By: 04.27.10  •  12 Comments

With the NBA playoffs heating up, emotions are at an all-time high right now. Some players and coaches have been coming at game officials sideways, and David Stern is not having that. Stern is tired of the outlandish remarks criticizing NBA officials, and he’s prepared to give out a couple suspensions and fines if need be. In the past few weeks, it seems like the League has been handing out fines as often as LeBron gets asked about his plans this summer.

Last Thursday, Celtics forward Rasheed Wallace was fined $35,000 dollars for commenting on the officiating of Game 1. In the game, ‘Sheed was charged with two fouls within two minutes, and following the game, he expressed that he felt the referees were trying to bait him into getting a tech. A week prior to that, Lakers head coach Phil Jackson was hit with a $35,000 fine of his own after inferring that Kevin Durant was given special treatment from NBA refs, allowing him to get to the line more than other players. But Wallace and Jackson aren’t the only ones in the Fine Club, as Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy and forward Matt Barnes were docked $35,000 a piece after publically commenting on officiating, and Erick Dampier was fined $35,000 for publicly criticizing officials on Monday.

If you ask me, the Commissioner needs to chill with the fines. Sure, players and coaches can get reckless with the comments sometimes, but this is the playoffs. Just as playoff basketball is refereed different than the regular season, there should be some leeway in the frustration as well. I know that Stern just doesn’t want the sound bites on SportsCenter and Inside the NBA to be killing the zebras, but $35K is a lot. Why should these players and coaches have to pay for speaking their mind? Where do we draw the line?

What do you think? Has Stern been quick to fine players and coaches for commenting on the refs? How much is too much to talk about?

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