David Stern Is a Coward.

I know of no other way to describe the NBA Commissioner’s complete failure to impose any sanction designed to redress the actions of unruly fans in Detroit. Today David Stern announced severe, and warranted, suspensions of the NBA players involved in the Friday’s courtside riot in Detroit. Yet Stern announced no measures — indeed, could not even bring himself to directly condemn the actions of the fans — addressed at the misbehavior of the guilty fans. No penalties were assessed on the Detroit Pistons organization for insufficient security; season-ticket holders who assaulted players did not have their tickets revoked, nor were any such measures recommended by the Commissioner in his statement. All David Stern offered was empty platitudes about how tyhe league must “redefine the bounds of acceptable conduct” for fans and players alike.

Note to David Stern: If fans get to assault players without any penalty, the league is not “defining the bounds of acceptable conduct.” Rather, the message of Sterns actions is that wealthy folks who spend lots of money on courtside seats can act like juvenile thugs because they are the NBA’s “customers” without fear of penalty — while players who act to defend themselves merit no mercy.

Again, I believe the player suspensions were warranted, but Stern’s failure to act more even handedly was cowardly. I hope Stern realizes this and takes measures to address fan behavior and player safety forthwith. After today’s announcement, I am not betting on it.

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