We were pretty sure that some nature of punishment would come down from the league office for both Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard after the former went below the belt on Charlotte Bobcats guard Ramon Sessions and the latter went up high on Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried on Wednesday. After considering the incidents on Thursday, NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson meted out disparate discipline: a one-game suspension for the Miami Heat guard and a $35,000 fine — but no suspension — for the Los Angeles Lakers center.
[Also: New leader in NBA All-Star votes]
The specific sins, as identified by Jackson: “flailing his leg and making contact with the groin” for Wade and “excessive contact with Faried above the shoulders” for Howard. Hit the jump to revisit the plays in question and let us know if you think the punishments fit the crimes.
First, Wade’s low blow on Sessions:
Next, Howard’s flagrant whack on Faried:
For their part — shock of shocks! — both Wade and Howard said there was no malice to their actions.
“I was surprised it was a flagrant 2,” Howard said after the Lakers’ Wednesday night loss to the Nuggets. “My intention was never to hurt Faried. I like the young fellow and my intention was just to foul. I come down the lane, somebody is going to foul me hard, put me on the free throw line and make me shoot free throws. It was the same kind of thing.”
Well, evidently not, according to the NBA. (Faried didn’t see it that way, either, telling reporters — including Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register — that Howard was “just mad” because “I was getting in his head, and he couldn’t get the rebound. He wanted to, but I kept getting every rebound.”)
Still, Howard’s penalty pales in comparison to the one received by Wade, who will forfeit his game check for Miami’s Friday night game against the Detroit Pistons — and considering he’s on the books for nearly $17.2 million this year, that essentially amounts to a fine of nearly $210,000, making this the most costly leg-flail since, I don’t know, Scott Norwood? (It’s also the second game-check Wade’s given up this year — the first went to Superstorm Sandy relief efforts following the Heat’s early November matchup with the New York Knicks.)
After the NBA announced the suspension — the first of Wade’s 10-year career — he offered his side of the story on Twitter:
I’m far from being a dirty player + my intent was never 2 kick Ramon Sessions. I just reacted to the contact that I got from him….
— Way of WADE (@DwyaneWade) December 28, 2012
More than anything, I think of my boys watchin me be4 retaliating 2ward any player. Im moving 4ward + ready 2 get back on the court in MIL. — Way of WADE (@DwyaneWade) December 28, 2012
One word of advice, D-Wade: If Larry Sanders contacts you, don’t react with another flail. That dude’ll start fights with your whole team.
[Related: Crotch kick costs Dwyane Wade a game's pay]
For those keeping score at home, “flailing your leg” into an opponent’s Southern hemisphere is now officially as bad as deliberately punching an opponent there, and both of those things are as bad as throwing a ball that hits a referee’s leg and throwing a mouthpiece that hits an official in the back. Each of those things are exactly 50 percent less bad than ramping up a fight, throwing an elbow at a Swedish man’s throat and being mad at Sean Elliott.
Please revise your scorebooks as needed.
More sports coverage from the Yahoo! Sports Minute:
Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
• Y! Screen: Hornets rookies discuss the facts of life in comedy clip
• Avery Johnson got fired, but Deron Williams is sinking the Nets
• First round of NFL playoffs could see mega matchups