In the National Basketball Association there are league rules that try to control the behavior of the teams, players, coaches and administration.
What is the going rate for ridicule in the NBA? If you are the Sacramento Kings, the price is $30,000.
The problem started on November 8, 2005 when the Sacramento Kings
played host to the Detroit Pistons and when the Pistons were introduced
at Arco Arena, the scoreboard displayed images of abandoned buildings,
junk piles, abandoned cars and other hardcore images of the rough urban
life found in Detroit.
The Pistons were immediately offended and the Kings apologized before
the home opener was over. The Pistons accepted the apology and a few
days later the Kings took out a full page ad in the hometown newspapers
for Detroit and Sacramento to apologize for their lack of taste in
showing stereotypical images of Detroit.
On November 14, the NBA fined the Kings $30,000 for “showing derogatory
images of Detroit” in violation of an NBA policy that prohibits
“ridiculing of opponents or game officials… via PA announcements,
video, or matrix displays, music or mascot skits.”
Is it “ridicule”
if you show images of Detroit that may be real but in bad taste?
Should having bad taste and then immediately apologizing for it be a
Why is an apology that was accepted by the offended not enough to bury
What good does a $30,000 NBA league fine do to change a Detroit reality
that some may not appreciate?
Here are some previous NBA fines against teams as reported by the Sacramento Bee. Is what the Kings did as inappropriate as these examples?
Jan. 30, 2004: Utah Jazz personnel perform a skit that
made fun of Los Angeles Lakers teammates Kobe Bryant and Karl Malone. A
mock phone call over the loudspeakers was answered by team mascot
“Bear.” A voice, identifying himself as “Mail” said he wanted to come
“home” to Utah and that Lakers fans were “mean.”
The skit concluded
with the impersonated voice saying, “I guess it could be worse. I could
be Ko …” stopping short of saying Kobe, who was currently being tried
for rape in Colorado. The Jazz was fined $15,000.
April 24, 2004: Before Game 3 of a second-round playoff series
between the Kings and Dallas Mavericks, a video at American Airlines
Center showed a cartoon that had a Shaquille O’Neal-like image calling
the Kings the “Queens.” There also was an image of Doug Christie on all
fours on a short leash held by his wife Jackie, and a cartoon image of
Chris Webber explaining why he attended the University of Michigan –
blurting, “Money, money, money!” The Mavericks were fined $25,000.
During the two games we saw in Sacramento, the Kings’ mascot — a
riotous and silly lion named Slamson — would point at and tease
players from both teams on the court and play around with the referees
as well. Is that behavior appropriate to the game? Is the hilarious and
beloved-by-children Slamson “ridiculing opponents” and “game officials”
via “mascot skits” — or is some teasing and fun still allowed in the
NBA as long as it’s done by an unknown performer in a furry lion
The NBA is all about making money and provocative images of Detroit —
even if true and accurate — does not serve their overall league
objective for mainstream, filtered and polished entertainment. Is it
possible, however, to go too far and take the fun and rivalry out of a
game that runs best on hometown bravado and street sweat and perceived
superiority by personality?
At what point do all NBA teams become alike
and the only difference between Sacramento and Detroit is the city name
stitched to the players’ jerseys? Or are we already in the realm of
pabulum and the safe and these NBA league fines are merely methods to
continue to administer the bland and the oblique as a sedative for
those who pay to sit in the seats without playing for the