Before discussing the Serge Ibaka’s assualt on Blake Griffin’s private parts, I will disclose my bias. Yes, I am a Clipper fan. In fact, I was even a Buffalo Braves fan (where the franchise began) during their brief moment in the sun in the mid-1970’s with Bob McAdoo and Rookie of the Year Ernie Diegregorio.
If you watch the replay of the incident, it is clear that Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka intended to and succeeded in delivering some testicular thunder to Clipper star forward Blake Griffin. It was clearly intentional as he made a fist and did not even look up to see where the basketball was until after he was mid-punch. Ibaka should have been ejected from the game, fined and suspended. Not only was he not ejected, but the NBA front office decided not to suspend Ibaka at all.
THE RULE OF LAW
I guess violations of California Penal Code do not carry weight in the NBA’s front office. Ibaka’s whack to Griffin’s Willie is a battery under Penal Code Section 243 that is punishable by up to six months in prison. In addition, it can be argued that striking Griffin’s scrotum was sexual abuse so as to render the attack a sexual battery under Penal Code Section 243.4 which carries a penalty of between two and four years in prison (plus registration as a sex offender). While California (and most states) find that people who engage in such acts should be removed from society, David Stern will not remove Ibaka for even a single game since that would have meant him missing a nationally televised game against the Lakers.
If the NBA is not going to take this seriously, maybe the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office should render its own opinion. Professional sports players have been charged criminally before for acts during a game, as NHL star Dino Ciccarelli spent a day in jail for striking a player with a stick.
If such an act can lead to jail for months or even years, why wouldn’t the NBA punish a punch to the package with at least 1 or more days suspension? Mr. Stern, as a lawyer, should have a greater appreciation for the rule of law and not be so lenient with criminal acts on the court.
Maybe they need a reminder of the nature of the offense. So my challenge to David Stern and the NBA front office is to take a shot in the nuts in public and consider again whether Ibaka should skate with a mere fine or not.
There remains the question of who should administer the strike. Griffin is too classy a guy to participate, so I suggest the Save Our Sonics team in Seattle since the league owes it to them anyway having administered a similar blow figuratively. Just the discussion of such an event might be enough, since maybe Mr. Stern will reconsider the league’s position when the sanctity of his own sack is threatened.