When the news was released today that Serge Ibaka would be fined $25,000 for his below-the-belt hit on Blake Griffin during the Thunder’s win over the Clippers on Sunday, it wasn’t a shock that a suspension wasn’t handed down, but it was a bit of a surprise.
The league hasn’t been afraid to retroactively drop the hammer after officials during a game came down lightly on a particular offense, as they did in the case of the elbow Metta World Peace landed to the head of Kenneth Faried.
Look a little further back to December, and you’ll see that Dwyane Wade was suspended for a game in the days following a kick to the groin of Ramon Sessions.
Groin shots are groin shots, at least in the eyes of Wade and LeBron James. Neither could believe that Ibaka’s penalty wasn’t harsher, and they each voiced their respective opinions to the millions following them on Twitter.
So explain to me the difference? My teammate gets a 1 game suspension and 150k+ taking away from him for his groin altercation #strangetome
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 5, 2013
All I can say is WoW….no pun intended but really….and I get suspended and lose 200 grand… #someexplainingtodo
— Way of WADE (@DwyaneWade) March 5, 2013
The confusion is the league’s fault to a certain extent, because public explanations of the reasoning behind these decisions are not readily available, and are rarely published.
In the age where players have direct access to give their opinions on the news of the day via social media, there’s going to be plenty more reactions like this unless explanations are given as to the reason why one play is a suspension, when another very similar play is only worthy of a relatively insignificant fine.