Tonight, the Miami Heat meet the Indiana Pacers in Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals and while the Heat have a chance to close things out, given that they currently hold a 3-2 advantage in the series, the bigger story has been the suspensions – or perhaps the non-suspension – that resulted from the actions of the two teams in Tuesday’s Game 5.
Following a hard foul by Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough on Heat guard Dwyane Wade, which was ultimately upgraded from a flagrant 1 to a flagrant 2 (although Hansbrough avoided what would have been an in-game ejection because the foul was changed the next day), Heat forward Udonis Haslem responded by putting a hard foul on Hansbrough that caused him to take a rough spill.
Later in the game, Heat center Dexter Pittman took down Pacers guard Lance Stephenson with a nasty elbow.
In the end, Haslem received a one-game suspension; Pittman was saddled with a three-game suspension; and Hansbrough, well, he got off with little more than a slap on the wrist.
While I joked on Twitter that perhaps the league’s decision is a part of some UNC bias, in all reality, the main reason why this is a major injustice is because Hansbrough has a history of doing this sort of thing, and against the Heat, no less.
If Haslem is apprehended, why shouldn’t “Psycho T” get a game off as well? He was the instigator and the one who, as I neglected to mention earlier, put such a hard foul on Wade that he scraped open an area near his eye.
Some people are making the argument that Hansbrough was trying to make a play on the ball, but I don’t buy that. And while Haslem clearly wasn’t trying to make a play on the ball and was rightly suspended because of that fact, he was merely sticking up for his teammate, which is where the title of this article comes into play.
Ever since the dawn of the game of baseball, there has been an unwritten rule that basically goes as follows: if a pitcher on the other team hits one of your guys, your pitcher is going to respond in kind in order to protect your teammate.
Isn’t that a double standard? I mean, why is it okay to retaliate in baseball, but it’s not okay in other sports?
Although I had never really thought about this question prior to Tuesday’s happenings, I have been pondering it all day long, ever since hearing of the NBA’s decisions regarding the incidents.
There are so many questionable decisions when it comes to this situation that it’s difficult to hit on them all, but I feel that the questions I’ve raised are some valid ones. Let’s review them real quick.
First, why was Haslem suspended while Hansbrough was not? (Pittman should definitely have been suspended, so he’s not even a part of the equation).
Second, why is it wrong for basketball players to retaliate while it’s generally perfectly acceptable for baseball players to do it?
Third, given Hansbrough’s history of hard fouls, why does the league continue to let him get away with the aforementioned slaps on the wrist?
When it comes to this situation, it seems everyone has an opinion, and since I’ve stated mine, I’ll let you watch the incidents and decide for yourself.
Tyler Hansbrough Foul on Dwyane Wade
Udonis Haslem Foul on Tyler Hansbrough
Dexter Pittman Foul on Lance Stephenson
As you can see, there’s certainly some pretty bad blood here, which should make for an interesting Game 6 tonight in Indiana. I’ll definitely be keeping tabs on it.
Other articles by Josh McKinney:
Why Sports Need Egos
Manning and Tebow a Part of What’s Been Another Crazy Week in Sports
Christian Athletes Providing Role Models for Young Sports Fans