C.J. McCollum: ‘I should’ve known better, with my history of violence on the court, that I would get suspended’

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C.J. McCollum was suspended for the Trail Blazers’ season opener against the Suns on Wednesday for leaving the bench during a preseason fight between Caleb Swanigan and Alex Len.

McCollum, via NBC Sports Northwest:

I should’ve known better, with my history of violence on the court, that I would get suspended.

I’m getting a harsher punishment than the people actually involved in the events. And I’m losing money. And I’m not playing. Would that bother you?

They could have fined me more money and allowed me to play in the regular-season game. It’s the intent, and it’s usually up to them. It’s to their discretion. So, they had a choice. They didn’t have to suspend me.

The NBA has a strict leave-the-bench-during-a-fight, get-suspended rule. McCollum – nobody’s idea of an enforcer, as he sarcastically alluded to – was probably just trying to break up the fight. But in the heat of the moment, it’s tough to discern the intent of a player charging in. He can easily escalate the quarrel. So, the league has a blanket rule and makes no exceptions – a policy that has had far more positive than negative effect.

This is the downside, a player getting suspended for trying play peacemaker. But everyone knows the rule at this point, and McCollum is paying the appropriate price for breaking it.