The Lakers’ Metta World Peace has been suspended for seven games without pay for striking the Thunder’s James Harden in the head with his elbow, the NBA announced today. [...] “The concussion suffered by James Harden demonstrates the danger posed by violent acts of this kind, particularly when they are directed at the head area,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said. “We remain committed to taking necessary measures to protect the safety of NBA players, including the imposition of appropriate penalties for players with a history of on-court altercations.”
The suspension will begin with the Lakers’ next game at Sacramento on April 26. The remaining games of the suspension will be served over the next six games in which the player is eligible and physically able to play, including this season’s playoffs.
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Justice wasn’t merciful.
Today, the NBA dropped the hammer on Metta World Peace by suspending the Los Angeles Lakers forward seven games for his lethal elbow to the head of Oklahoma City Thunder swing James Harden.
Harden is listed as day-to-day with a concussion and could return tomorrow or miss several months. There’s no set timetable for such an injury.
Peace, to his credit, immediately apologized to Harden and the Thunder, but tried to say the incident was an ‘unintentional’ outpouring of emotion after a dunk.
The NBA, specifically Vice President Stu Jackson, deserves criticism for past rulings -just ask Phoenix Suns fans about the bitter taste from the Amar’e Stoudemire suspension so many years ago. This, however, is not one of them.
Peace’s elbow, intentional or not, has taken out the Thunder’s third best player and designated game-changer off the bench. Their chances at a championship aren’t the same.
The only fair punishment is to have Peace sit for a lengthy period. One or two games wouldn’t be 'stern' enough, especially if Peace returned to the court while Harden recovered.
So the NBA got this one right. Sadly, two of the league’s top teams, the Lakers and Thunder, won’t be at their best when the playoffs begin.
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