Friday , Nov , 09 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Forget The 2009 All-Star Game, Phoenix Suns Media Interrogate David Stern Over Amare Stoudemire-Boris Diaw Suspensions

He came in peace, offered the 2009 All-Star game as an olive branch, and then got torn to shreds by Phoenix’s press. The Arizona media ignored the All-Star game announcement and went Spanish inquisition on David Stern, questioning the commissioner’s decision to suspend Stoudemire and Diaw for leaving the bench during a skirmish in last year’s playoffs …

Arizona Republic scribe Paula Bovin reports on David Stern’s first press conference in Phoenix since suspending Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw from last year’s playoffs:

Stern’s press conference at US Airways Center that followed the announcement of the 2009 NBA All-Star Game coming here was tense and at times almost uncomfortable. By the end, when someone mentioned "this joyous day" in Phoenix, Stern said,"You could have fooled me."

Hey, we still had questions. The first two came from Channel 15’s Craig Fouhy and Channel 10’s Jude LaCava. Both asked pointed, stern questions about why the commissioner took a tougher stand with Amaré Stoudemire and Boris Diaw for leaving the bench area after a brief altercation in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals than he did with with his own officials, whom he recently acknowledged have all violated the contractual prohibition against engaging in gambling.

My Quick Take: He came in peace, offered the 2009 All-Star game as an olive branch, and then got torn to shreds by Phoenix’s press.

The Arizona media ignored the All-Star game announcement and went Spanish inquisition on David Stern, questioning the commissioner’s decision to suspend Stoudemire and Diaw for leaving the bench during a skirmish in last year’s playoffs.

Here is the real issue: Stern appears to have two sets of rules. Most of the time, he enforces the letter of the law. But sometimes he exercises discretion and only enforces the spirit of the law.

Nobody knows which rules Stern will enforce and when.

For example, every NBA referee broke the league’s gambling laws in some way. Other than Tim Donaghy, they all received a light punishment from the suits at head office.

A few years ago, Antonio Davis didn’t just leave the bench; he jumped over the entire bench area, raced into the stands, and accosted a fan who had been provoked into an argument by the forward’s wife. Davis also got off easy, receiving a five game suspension.

For whatever reason, the commissioner threw the book at STAT and Diaw, suspending the forwards for a minor infraction and killing the Suns’ chances of winning the 2006-07 NBA Title.

Today, Phoenix’s reporters wanted Stern to explain the league’s process for deciding suspensions. What criteria are used? After all, it would appear that the ‘commish’ gets together with right-hand Stu Jackson and the two use an ouiji board to dole out random sentences for indiscretions.

But instead of providing the media with an explanation, Stern did the expected-he got defensive. And today’s press conference was as comfortable as Isiah Thomas and George Karl getting together for afternoon tea.

Suns-nation will eventually accept last year’s misfortune. They have to. After all, the players have moved on. But today’s press conference with Stern proved time hasn’t healed all wounds-even when the commissioner is extending an olive branch.

Should Phoenix’s media and fans let go of last year’s playoffs? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts.

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