Thursday, May 17, 2007

Is It Right to Have Absolute “Black & White” Rules?

Yes, I love the game of basketball. No, I don’t love the NBA version of it.

In recent years I barely watch the NBA during the regular season. I don’t really tune in or care about what is happening until the playoffs. I’m crazy about the way Steve Nash plays the game and therefore I really enjoy watching the Phoenix Suns.

For those that don’t follow sports there is a reflection coming so hang with me for a couple of paragraphs.

In game 4 of the Phoenix and San Antonio series, benchwarmer and overrated Robert Horry took a cheap shot at 2-time MVP Nash and body checked him into the scorer’s table as Nash was about to speed past Horry on a fast break. Fortunately Nash was okay and resumed playing. Horry was ejected from the game and received a 2-game suspension, as he should. However, two of Nash’s teammates leaped off of the Phoenix bench in concern for how Nash was as he lay on the floor. NBA rules prohibit teammates leaving the bench during altercations between other players so as not to escalate the moment.

Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw quickly caught themselves (literally within 1 second) and returned to their bench. But, the “black and white” NBA rule says that anyone who leaves the bench will be suspended from the next game and thus they were. As it turns out this was a bonus for San Antonio because Horry is not crucial to their game plan and Stoudemire and Diaw are very crucial to Phoenix. Game 5 was played last night and Phoenix lost without these players. With just a little official review and interpretation of the game 4 incident the NBA could have appropriately waved the rule and preserved the best competition of the entire playoff. As it turns out they are ruining what I consider the best of professional basketball competition by eliminating any kind of variation to a rule.

Okay, the reflection: aren’t there times when “black and white” rules deserve interpretation and some variance of implementation? I think I hear the “legalists” out there yelling “No”.

The Bible says, “Thou shall not kill.” That’s a good rule/law. We respect the sanctity of life and protect it. However, if I come home and someone has broken into my house and is raping my wife or killing my children I’m going to stop that man even if it means I have to kill him. Wouldn’t you?

The Bible says, “God hates divorce” and He forbids us to end our marriages. However, if a woman is being beaten by her husband and her children are being sexually assaulted by her husband I’m going to tell her to divorce him immediately and get far away from him.

There is a “spirit” to the law in addition to the “letter” of the law. The “spirit” is the intent. Murder laws are intended to preserve life. However, if someone has to take a life in order to preserve the lives of his 3 family members then the letter of the law should not punish him for doing so.

With respect to my frivolous NBA playoff game, the Commissioner should have allowed the Phoenix players to compete. But, reality is that a lot in life is not fair or just, but that will be another post.

No comments: