Listen, we don’t know for sure whether or not Carmelo Anthony’s wife LaLa Vasquez tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios. We do know, however, that you don’t say that kind of thing to another dude about his wife. Because he will seek you out — on the court, in the hallway, outside the locker room and near the bus. And then he will be suspended for it.
Anthony’s quasi-tirade over questionable language Kevin Garnett may or may not have thrown his way during the Celtics–Knicks game at MSG Monday night have indeed gotten him suspended for one game for “confronting an opponent after a game.” He will sit out the Knicks’ game against the Pacers Thursday night and lose roughly $176,700 of his $19.4 million salary.
There is no word yet on whether or not David Stern will punish himself for suspending one of his league’s biggest stars from a game that will be nationally televised.
Since that probably won’t happen, let’s skip ahead to something relevant. Here’s the statement released by NBA executive vice president of operations Stu Jackson:
“There are no circumstances in which it is acceptable for a player to confront an opponent after a game,” Jackson said in a statement. “Carmelo Anthony attempted to engage with Kevin Garnett multiple times after Monday’s game and therefore a suspension was warranted.”
So Carmelo is being suspended. As for Kevin Garnett, aside from the technical foul he received in-game for getting physical with Melo (which Anthony also received), he will not receive any further punishment. Anthony didn’t expect to be suspended, and rightfully so. There is simply no justifiable cause for it, and the vague language in Jackson’s statement only reinforces how silly this punishment truly is.
Let’s deconstruct that statement. According to the league Anthony is being suspended because there are no circumstances in which it is acceptable for a player to confront an opponent after a game. The operative word here is “confront”, and there was no confronting to be had. It looked bad, but all Carmelo did was wait. It made him look somewhat like an eighth grader looking for a fight with a bully out by the flagpole and not at all like a professional basketball player, but in this instance, we shouldn’t be worried about appearances. We should be worried about what happened. Which was nothing. Carmelo waited, that is it.
The key phrase in the second sentence is “attempt to engage.” The league is assuming “engage” in this instance meant physical altercation, which maybe Anthony was looking to get into (but probably not). If that was the case, and if there was a physical altercation, then yes, Anthony deserves suspension and then some. But maybe he was just looking to have some more words with Garnett, man to man. I have a hard time believing the league would have suspended Carmelo if Garnett in fact did come out and all they did was talk.
And that brings us to the “attempt” part of the phrase, because really, this is just the league suspending Anthony for something he may or may not was about to do, but maybe wasn’t going to do at all. Again, Anthony’s post-game antics did not look good on him, the Knicks, or the league, but this was not in the NBA’s jurisdiction. A punishment from the Knicks — suspension or otherwise — would have been far more appropriate, you know, because Carmelo didn’t actually do anything. Obviously, the league doesn’t want stuff like this to keep happening for fear of what it could have led to and was probably just looking to set an example, but there were painfully little grounds on which to suspend Anthony.
[h/t New York Times, Getty Images]