Tag: Antonis Fotsis

Coaches of the Greek and Serbian teams are, shockingly, shocked at FIBA's suspension rulings

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Hey, remember that time a Greece-Serbia friendly broke out into a rootin’, tootin’, chair-throwin’ brawl? When Antonis Fotsis and Sofoklis Schortsanitis went absolutely nuts?

Even if you don’t (which you really should — it’s been the most notable moment in the lead-up to the FIBA World Championships), I’m pretty sure the Serbian and Greek players, do. And FIBA, too, judging by the fact that they doled out suspensions yesterday.

Suspensions that the coaches of each national team don’t seem to be too happy about. From the Associated Press:

[Serbia coach Dusan] Ivkovic criticized FIBA for waiting until less than 48 hours before the start of the tournament to suspend Oklahoma City Thunder center Nenad Krstic and guard Milos Teodosic for their roles in a brawl in Greece.

Krstic will miss the first three games and Teodosic the first two.
Ivkovic said Serbia has lost “two key players” for the games against
Angola, Germany and Jordan. “We will be playing 10 against 12 in
the first two matches and 11 against 12 in the third and that’s a big
handicap,” Ivkovic said.

“We have to react in a very short time,
I have to prepare my players mentally,” Ivkovic added. “Krstic is our
captain, or pillar, our main offensive option. Without Teodosic, we
lose a lot of creativity.”

Greece coach Jonas Kazlauskas said the
FIBA suspensions altered his plans ahead of Saturday’s opening game
against China. Both Fotsis and Schortsanitis will also be sitting on
the bench during Sunday’s game against Puerto Rico. “It is a disappointment,” Kazlauskas said after practice at Ankara Arena in Ankara, Turkey. “This is something unbelievable.”

Personally, I find both Ivkovic and Kazlauskas’ reactions to be a bit…surprising. Coaches of national teams often take on this “us against the world” mentality, probably because it literally is them against the world. Still, though FIBA officials could certainly have issued a quicker, and more decisive ruling, both coaches should understand that their players got off easy.

Krstic threw a chair at someone, and will sit for three preliminary games. Sofoklis Schortsanitis’ damage wasn’t even properly captured by the camera, but looks plenty brutal enough. It doesn’t matter if FIBA games have a “European atmosphere,” or not, this isn’t acceptable behavior. FIBA issued a statement saying as much, and then proceeded to issue a few slaps on the wrist for the players involved.

This isn’t “something unbelievable,” unless Kazlauskas agrees that FIBA should have been a bit more harsh in their punishment. There’s no use in Ivkovic griping about how long it took to issue the suspensions when everyone got off a bit easy. The coaches aren’t just looking the gift horse in the mouth on this one, they’re punching it in the mouth.

Or maybe even throwing a chair.

Here's a shocker: FIBA officials are reviewing yesterday's brawl

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Chairs were thrown. Screams were screamed. Sofoklis Schortsanitis probably wrecked a man. Nenad Krstic did some back-pedaling and threw a chair. If you somehow missed the brawl that took place during yesterday’s Greece-Serbia friendly, you’re probably having trouble with this whole internet thing. Just click here, and all of your wildest basketbrawling dreams will be fulfilled.

Unsurprisingly, FIBA announced today that they’re currently reviewing video of the fracas to assess blame and punishment. Here’s a snippet from the official statement:

FIBA, as the sport’s world governing body, is now urgently
reviewing last night’s game and the circumstances leading to the
violence.FIBA will not be commenting on the actions of any individual
player ahead of that review being completed. However, FIBA wishes to
make it clear that it will not hesitate from taking the strongest
possible action against any individual found to have brought the sport
of basketball into disrepute.

That’s bad news for Sofo, Krstic, Antonis Fotsis, and any participant who ranked highly in Tom Ziller’s fantastic Greece-Serbia Brawl Power Rankings. The more powerful the display, the more likely that player is to incur FIBA’s wrath.

The altercation was rather insane, but it’s unknown exactly how far FIBA will go to punish the offending parties. Greece and Serbia are definitely players in the World Championship scene, and a significant suspension could definitely throw a wrench into the preliminary games. However, the NBA really doesn’t seem to have an jurisdiction to punish Nenad Krstic here. Though David Stern may want to reach across the globe, he really has no call to punish the Thunder big man.