Sometimes the executives who run the unions responsible for the four major sports in America make moves and decisions that will make you wonder how in the heck those people even got the jobs in the first place.
The NFL is notorious for turning the other cheek when a football player is involved with a domestic violence dispute unless the video or audio is released like in the case of Ray Rice or most recently with former Kansas City running back Kareem Hunt. Other times they overcompensate after under-punishing and decide to over-punish for the most ridiculous reasons.
And that’s exactly what happened to Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers when they fined him for the most ludicrous reason.
Major sports unions rule over their respective leagues with an iron fist and even if the players try to appeal whatever sanctions ruled against them there’s a slim shot they’ll win after the initial ruling. It’s effectively a dictatorship.
The worst part is they can rule apart of the justice system. When Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot was accused of sexual assault twice over a 72-hour-period, the prosecutors involved with the case decided not to move forward with the charges against him.
But that didn’t stop the NFL from handing down a six-game suspension to the star running back.
In the NBA, one of the recent controversial debates is about tampering, which is an overly strict and ambiguous rule amongst anybody in the league trying to sway the outcome of another player’s trade or luring them to come in free agency.
In late December of last year, Los Angeles Lakers star forward LeBron James made a comment when asked about the potential of his organization trading for New Orleans Pelicans star player Anthony Davis, James said, “That would be amazing. That would be incredible.” The NBA issued him a warning.
However, Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers wasn’t so lucky to get a warning.
On a SportsCenter Finals preview special hosted by Stephen A. Smith and also included Mike Wilbon and Magic Johnson; Rivers complimented Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard and even compared him to Michael Jordan.
For that, he was absurdly fined $50,000.
Rivers said of Leonard, “He is the most like [Michael] Jordan that we’ve seen. Like, there’s a lot of great players. LeBron [James] is phenomenal. KD [Kevin Durant] is phenomenal. But not that he is Jordan or anything like that, but he is the most like him. Big hands. Post game. Can finish. Great leaper. Great defender. In-between game. If you beat him to the spot, bumps you off. Then you add his 3-point shooting.”
The reason why the league fined him is predicated on an assumption that the championship-winning player and former Finals MVP wants to play in Los Angeles when his free agency begins in July – particularly the Los Angeles Clippers.But it’s all hearsay. Nobody knows what Leonard is going to do and his decision might be directly influenced by what happens at the end of the current NBA Finals. Who knows; he may have fallen in love with Toronto.
Needless to say, it’s the fine that is bogus because all Rivers did was offer his opinion when he was asked the question. Is it a bit hyperbolic to compare him to the greatest basketball player of all time? Maybe, but what he’s saying is not the craziest thing. Leonard is making a case right now that he deserves to be classified as one of the all-time greats.
Sure, you might scoff and be apathetic when you consider his annual salary but the larger issue is the insanity of how dictatorial these sports unions can be sometimes. This is a perfect example.