You are going to hear a lot of people say the 15-game suspension leading scorer Carmelo Anthony received from the NBA today for his part in the recent brawl between his Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks is too harsh.
And they are all dead wrong.
But why do we care in this space?
Because the NBA used to be a red-hot television product, and despite its ratings trending up the last couple years, it remains virtually an afterthought in the grand scheme of the sports world.Outside of TNT’s fantastic studio show, the NBA in general is no longer must-see television.
The reasons for this decline are many. I am biased because I don’t know that any sport ever had halcyon days like those of Magic and Larry battling it out, or Michael showing that the game could be played at a different level.
Today, the best players in the league seemingly were in college for a year if that, which has opened up a whole new can of worms from worse fundamentals to not having star power already when they are drafted.Whether you liked Christian Laettner or despised him, we all knew a lot about him before he joined the NBA.
Or you can just do what everyone likes to do about everything in sports: blame ESPN.If you’re in that camp, check out Bob Raissman’s Sunday column in the New York Daily News.But if a box comes in the mail and it’s ticking and is postmarked “Bristol,” you may not want to open it.
Anyway, NBA commissioner David Stern simply cannot allow these brawls to continue.I need to be able to turn on a game with my kid and not worry that an Ultimate Fighting Championship card is going to break out.
The NBA as a TV property has enough challenges.When brawls break out, suspensions need to be Draconian – and the NBA should follow after what international soccer leagues have done for various offenses: actually penalize the team by subtracting points in the standings from the team.
There are enough reasons not to watch the NBA that the league can’t control.This one they can…and must.
By Ben Grossman