GRAPHIC BY YING YANG
By EMMA CHANG
There are only two things guaranteed during the National Basketball Association (NBA) Playoffs: harrowing losses and conflict.
As the countdown to the 2018 NBA Finals slowly winds down, the tensions within the Eastern and Western Conferences continue to rise as the teams compete for the title of League Champion.
During the NBA Playoffs, the top sixteen teams in the nation are chosen to compete against each other in the best of seven matches until a victor is chosen to advance to the next bracket.
In the midst of the matches that make-or-break every team’s career, it was no surprise for viewers and commentators when a fight broke out following the heated fourth match between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat on Saturday, Apr. 21.
With Miami in the lead at 51-46 in the second quarter of the game, the stakes were high for both teams, especially since the 76ers were ahead in the Playoffs at 3-1.
The play began when Miami center Hassan Whiteside narrowly missed a layup, followed by a turnover to Philadelphia.
One thing led to another before 76ers forward Robert Covington struck Heat point guard Goran Dragic mid-layup, almost deliberately knocked him onto the floor and proceeded to act as if nothing had happened.
The situation quickly escalated as Covington was immediately defended by 76ers forward Ben Simmons, who had seen the exchange unfold and ran to confront him, with his teammates not far behind. Despite being surrounded by the now-hostile 76ers, Heat forward James Johnson stood his ground and continued to argue, attracting the attention of several other players, coaches and referees.
Fortunately, before the fight could spiral out of control, the efforts of several coaches and players were able to split Simmons and Johnson apart.
Yet, Simmons, Johnson and Covington were only deemed with personal and technical fouls during the aftermath of the fight—punishments which do not actually exercise any intentions to prevent similar actions in the future and demonstrate the NBA’s ability to impose inadequate punishments for misconduct.
Of course, this is not the first instance in which the sports industry has failed to display jurisdiction when players no longer abide by age-old game rules and regulations.
For instance, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) player Reggie Lynch who, despite receiving two sexual assault charges, was only punished with an indefinite suspension following the declaration of his third accusation, nearly two years after. On the basis of insufficient evidence, Lynch was able to evade appropriate punishment, yet again exhibiting a lack of just repercussions within the sports industry.
All in all, whether it be undisciplined misconduct or sexual allegations, it is time for changes to be made. Evidently, the sports industry’s current penalties do not serve their purpose and have only encouraged the players’ unacceptable behavior to continue.