As suspected, LeBron James and Isaiah Stewart received suspensions from the NBA for their skirmish over the weekend.
“King” James was issued a suspension of one game and Stewart two games. The Sunday event felt like a mini Malice In The Palace minus the water bottle fan throw.
LeBron James has been suspended one game and Isaiah Stewart has been suspended two games following their fight during Lakers-Pistons Sunday night. pic.twitter.com/zQz7USRfY6
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 22, 2021
The reasoning for James’ suspension was for “recklessly hitting” the Detroit Pistons center, who caught an elbow in the face that eventually led to him bleeding profusely.
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 22, 2021
However, Stewart’s suspension of two games was for “escalating an on-court altercation by repeatedly and aggressively pursuing” James. Although James inflicted the cruel blow, he will return to the game faster but loses more money than Stewart.
The incident will reportedly cost James around $284,000 in pay. Stewart will lose $45,000 in salary, in essence for seeking revenge during an aggravated moment.
Stewart also received a $950,000 fine from the NBA, according to reports.
— Bleacher Report ➐ (@BIeacherReporf) November 22, 2021
James will serve his suspension on Tuesday in New York during the Los Angeles Lakers’ road trip against the New York Knicks.
Stewart will serve his two-game suspension during Tuesday’s home game against Miami and Wednesday against Milwaukee.
The suspensions and the penalties raise questions about the fairness of the league when the face of the game is faced with missing valuable playing time.
Isaiah Stewart charges LeBron after being bloodied, a breakdown pic.twitter.com/BvlmlcajBW
— Jomboy (@Jomboy_) November 22, 2021
All The Kings Men
LeBron James, who returned to the lineup last Friday against the Boston Celtics, missed the previous eight games from an abdominal strain. The game against the Detroit Pistons was only his second back; the team’s win broke a three-game losing skid.
While James and Stewart were battling for position during a free throw, James’ elbow and arm did more damage than intended to Stewart’s face. Although it is impossible to tell if the offense was in any way intentional based on their arms getting intertwined, as customary in fighting for a rebound, the fact is it caused a potentially serious injury.
"I think LeBron looks worse in this situation! … You know LeBron James did that on purpose!"
— First Take (@FirstTake) November 22, 2021
According to the NBA Code of Conduct, registered players shall not engage in any activity which is likely to result in loss or willful damage to property or cause injury to any person.
James’ elbow swing and strike to Stewart, which drew blood above his eye, should have received as much suspension as Stewart. The one-game miss for James has permeable value across the NBA that LeBron is more special than other players.
Double Standard Much?
In a league driven by its superstars like Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the focal point in LeBron James, the league will have to work harder to ensure fairness.
Isaiah Stewart was initially shocked by the hit. Although he and James locked horns for a few seconds, the delayed realization of the blood set Stewart off.
At that point, it became personal for Stewart, and he went from professional basketball player to aggrieved man. But wouldn’t you feel the same way?
Sports are rooted in passion and emotion. Compound that with competing closely against arguably the best all-around player in the NBA, or at least marketed as so, and you will have heated competitive moments.
Stewart’s reaction looks like an overreaction in the throws of an NBA game, but it wasn’t more egregious than James’ since Stewart never threw a blow. He had a failed attempt to step back up to James.
How LeBron watching the Lakers-Knicks game pic.twitter.com/VkNjkjaDiH
— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) November 22, 2021
Was he wrong: yes. Should he miss two games to James’ one: no, unless you want to set a tone of inherent bias regarding marquee-level players who are the offenders.
To be clear, LeBron James is not a chronic problem; a testament to that fact is that this is the first suspension in his 19-year career. However, the issuance of suspensions on a lopsided scale sets a tone on which the NBA could risk its integrity.
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