On October 20th the Los Angelas Lakers visited the Houston Rockets in a highly anticipated early season match-up. Three players received suspensions for their roles in an on-court altercation with 4 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of the game.
Brandon Ingram received a 4 game suspension without pay for “…aggressively returning to and escalating the altercation and throwing a punch in the direction of Paul (Chris), confronting an official in a hostile manner, and instigating the overall incident by shoving Rockets guard James Harden.” Rajon Rondo was suspended 3 games without pay for “…instigating a physical altercation with, and spitting and throwing multiple punches at, Paul (Chris).” Lastly, Chris Paul was suspended 2 games without pay for “…poking at and making contact with the face of Rondo (Rajon), and throwing multiple punches at him.”
We have been seeing a trend in major sports leagues cracking down on violence in their respective sports. The NFL has begun enforcing a new roughing the passer rule to protect quarterbacks. The NHL made an example out of Tom Wilson when they suspended the forward 20 games for a hit he made in pre-season action. However, the NBA has handed down rather minor suspensions following the altercation on October 20th. Past incidents in the NBA that have involved fights have garnered up 15 game suspensions for individuals.
With the season less than a handful of games in, you may have expected the NBA to crack down hard with the hopes of eliminating this behaviour for the rest of the season. Is the NBA possibly looking into lighter suspensions with the idea that more viewers may tune into games if there is the chance of a fight?