Thursday, January 19, 2006

Antonio Davis - C.T.U.
By Zach

Editor's Note: Apparently, the Antonio Davis situation has inspired my, frequent guest writer John Schmeelk weighs in.

It’s a shame I didn’t have a chance to write this article before the suspension came down, unfortunately there was other pressing business, namely 24 Season 2 on DVD. Could that show be any better by the way? Though admittedly I do have serious concerns about confusing the plots from Season Five, and Season Two. Could be a problem.

I bring up 24 for a reason: reference Season One, when Jack Bauer had to make numerous big-time decisions balancing national security, his job, and rescuing his wife from the first version of “generic” terrorists the show likes to give us. He often chose his wife over the country, but was willing to pay the consequences. Enter Antonio Davis. He saw his wife in distress, and had to make a choice, either let an incident go down right in front of him in which his wife might get hurt, or break league rules and head into the stands risking turning the incident into something far worse. Unlike Jack Bauer (who was buddies with the future President), Antonio Davis is not as tight with David Stern, so he must pay a price for his deed. Both men did what they had to do, and paid the price.

Antonio Davis’ is five games without pay. Which is the EXACT number of games that should have been given him. It was important to strike a balance here. Davis did what any person would, trying to protect his wife when she was in apparent danger. But he also broke a rule and risked another riot like there was in Detroit last year and for that, despite the good intentions, he must be punished. Last year, Ron Artest and especially Stephen Jackson had no such intentions. Also remember, last year Artest’s season-long suspension was a product of repeated bad behavior, so it is appropriate to use Jackson’s half-season suspension as a high end benchmark. Intent and result hit Jackson hard, and neither affect Davis.

Stern couldn’t lowball Davis because then players would not hesitate to go into the stands in the future. It is so important to keep them out of the stands to prevent a riot. So anything from 1-3 was completely unacceptable. Despite Davis’ intentions he still could have caused a serious incident and injury to fans that were near his wife if the incident did in fact become physical. The high end for Davis was probably ten, but considering his tenure, reputation, and standing with the player’s association it was likely reduced to five. Trying to rationalize a more severe punishment would be difficult, because Davis was trying to protect a member of his family, involved in an incident that was going on for 2-3 trips up and down the court. Anywhere from 5-8 would have been fair, but five works perfectly. Davis did what he had to do, so did the league.

The real problem was with arena security. First, they should know that there was a player’s wife in the section. If Davis recognized an incident in the middle of a close game from the court, how could security not? Whether it was the wife or the fan who was the real culprit doesn’t matter. The fact that security allowed it to escalate where Davis had to go up there is ridiculous. What the hell were they doing? They are to blame here. Now the fan has filed an assault lawsuit against the wife for sratching him, and Davis for slander. Apparently to say someone is drunk is now slanderous. Whatever.

At least for Davis it ended better than it did for Jack Bauer, (SPOILERS COMING) whose wife died at the end of season one at the hands of a fellow agent turned traitor. What would the Knick equivalent be? Jerome James quitting the team, then showing up at a game and eating Davis’ wife limb by limb? Talk about an ugly way to go...

But the bottom line – Davis did the right thing in going into the stands, and the league did the right thing in suspending him… sometimes that’s just the way it goes...

John Schmeelk is a former WNYU Sports Director and Cheap Seats host, as well as a current WFAN producer. He also somehow finds time to hang out with most of the Sportszilla crew on a fairly regular basis. If you liked what he wrote, leave a comment or e-mail us at sportszilla at gmail dot com and we'll try to convince him to write more.

Also, if you're interested in writing a guest column, send us a sample column. It should be no less than 250 words, no more than about 750 (though if it's good, we'll make an exception).


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