Tensions grew high in the world of sports this week with disreputable incidents happening in both the NBA and NFL.
The first act of misconduct came from Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. In the Nov. 6 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Kelce grew very frustrated over the referees’ calls, or lack thereof.
After the referees neglected to call Jacksonville’s Prince Amukamara supposed pass interference in the red zone, Kelce decided to take officiating into his own hands. Following an ill-mannered exchange, the referee threw his flag for unsportsmanlike conduct. Adding flames to the fire, Kelce mimicked the referee, grabbing the towel from his waist and launching it into the air. This inappropriate act resulted in Kelce’s ejection from the game and a fine of $24,309.
To upstage Kelce, Washington Wizards guard John Wall was ejected from not one, but two games this week due to deliberate fouls and inappropriate behavior. Wall’s first ejection occurred with only 33 seconds left in a very close game against the Houston Rockets. Out of frustration, Wall argued with an official and purposefully bumped into his shoulder while heading to the bench. Consequently, Wall was prohibited from playing for the remainder of the game and was later fined $25,000 for his misconduct.
The very next day, Wall expressed even stronger aggression. In a game against the Boston Celtics, Wall belligerently fouled guard Marcus Smart, knocking him to the ground while playing backcourt defense. Even though teammate Tomas Satoransky was defending Smart, Wall approached from the side and ultimately collided with Smart and pushed him down. This foul tallied ejection number two for Wall this week.
Soon, the question arose: How much will Wall be fined this time?
It is clear that the NFL and NBA are not light with punishments, levying large fines for most wrongdoings. In fact, Kelce was charged over $24,000 for merely throwing his towel in the air. So, if Kelce received a large fine and Wall was previously charged $25,000 for hitting an official’s shoulder, how large would the cost be to knock an opponent on the ground? How about $75,000? $100,000?
The NBA’s answer is zero. That’s right, the NBA disclosed that it will not be penalizing Wall for his second ejection. No additional fine, and no additional punishment.
How does this make any sense?
I am relieved that professional sport leagues such as the NFL and NBA punish athletes for their misconduct in terms of playing time and monetary fines. I agree that athletes cannot go unscathed for their inappropriate behavior. But if they hold strong to this ideology, Wall needs to be punished further.
Additionally, I believe that the national sports associations need to more accurately correlate the punishment and the “crime.” Looking at these two stories, there is a $691 difference between making intentional physical contact with a referee and throwing a towel in the air.
Even worse, the lack of punishment for Wall’s offense shows that causing physical harm to opponents is a lesser infraction and does not warrant further fines or punishment.
Looking back at Wall’s history, he is no stranger to NBA violations. In fact, since the beginning of his NBA career in 2011, Wall has collected a total of 28 penalties, summing up to $163,766 in fines. This abundance of fouls shows that Wall’s misconduct is a recurring theme.
With this in mind, it is truly unbelievable that, even with his overwhelming violation history, Wall walked away from his scuffle with Smart with full playing eligibility and every cent in his pocket.