by DOMINICK PUENTE//Editorial Assistant
Having the ability to speak out about problems within different sports should not be hindered by league offices with fines or other punishments to maintain their image.
The NBA recently fined Grizzlies coach David Fizdale after he ranted about the officiating after their first playoff game against the San Antonio Spurs.
After comparing the number of free throws the Grizzlies had with the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard, Leonard had more free-throw opportunities than the entire Grizzlies team.
The league fined Fizdale $30,000 after his rant, which I believe is unnecessary and hurts the league overall.
Whether Fizdale was right about his team being treated unfairly because Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and his team have pedigree, while Fizdale and the Grizzlies are rookies, or just lack the experience, is another topic for debate.
However, fining coaches and players for speaking their mind is idiotic. Coaches and players should have a voice in the organization to express their thoughts about how they are seeing things and what they feel about the league and the officials.
Having these things said can improve the overall shape of the league to suggest improvements, or simply let the league commissioner and office know what needs to be fixed.
As for Fizdale, he should have every right to express his concerns. The league office demands players and coaches have press conferences after games and throughout the season. If the NBA sets those guidelines, coaches and players should have the right to express their feelings on any issue, even if it is expressing disgust toward officiating or the NBA overall.
Although the NBA is a business, the coaches and players should be able to utilize freedom of speech without having to be fined or punished.
Throughout the years, the league has fined countless coaches and players for expressing their thoughts on the NBA. Yet when the league has something to say, whether it be good or bad, no one is looking over the league’s actions.
The league is made up of fully-grown men and women who are educated enough to process situations and come up with their own responses. For an organization to glorify a response from a player or coach who states a positive response, then burn another player for expressing his concerns, is not just.
As for the idea of utilizing criticism from coaches and players to help build the NBA, I think, as a collective whole, the league office is not comprehending how well that could benefit the league and allow more positive outcomes.
Allowing coaches to talk about the concerns of players with the NBA and the overall system should be allowed to better the league, which, in turn, will bring better results and more people to the sport of basketball.
Instead of fining individuals thousands of dollars for their own opinions, the league should consider the criticism as advice or hints to work on what needs to be fixed to create a better system and cohesive organization.
I do understand that Fizdale was fined for ranting about the officiating, while all three officials have officiated more than 400 playoff games combined. There is still room for error in even the most experienced officials.
The difference in the number of free throws does indicate that maybe the officials were not partial to the Grizzlies. While it might not be about pedigree, Fizdale had every right to be upset and should have been able to voice his concerns without receiving a fine so the NBA could save face.
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