Guys get suspended all the time for something the league deems dangerous to another player, most deserved but some not. The team and the player ususally take their punishment and move on without a word.
But after Wade was suspended by the league for kicking the Bobcats’ Ramon Sessions in the groin — a suspension that was totally deserved — the Miami Heat took the unusual step of releasing a statement.
“While we accept the decision of the NBA regarding Dwyane Wade, we do not agree with it,” the team said. “In his 10 years in the league, Dwyane has never been suspended, and has been an exemplary player and positive influence to his teammates and fans and we have been honored to have him as part of the Miami Heat family. Unfortunately, he is the type of player, along with other players on our roster, that defenses take privileges with. We stand with Dwyane and support him in this situation and have made our feelings known to the league office.”
This should be seen as the team backing Wade, who said he did not do this intentionally and is not a dirty player.
The second part of this is key — the statement is clearly the Heat trying to respond to the “Wade is a dirty player” talk that has gained momentum in the wake of this latest incident. Wade is in a lot of ways the face of the Heat franchise and they are protecting that image.
Good for them. It was still deserved and Wade’s reputation did not spring fully formed from thin air. There is a reason people are talking.