Was NBA's fine of Miami Heat's Micky Arison reasonable? [Updated]
Miami Heat owner Micky Arison was fined $500,000 by the NBA for making lockout-related comments on Twitter. Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss whether Arison's punishment fit his crime. Check back throughout the day for more responses and join the discussion with a comment of your own.
Shandel Richardson, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Someone please tell me that Heat owner Mickey Arison threw a punch during a game or at least used a slur toward an NBA referee. Five hundred thousand dollars? For words that likely offended no one? At least Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was punished for being a repeat offender when he ripped the officiating in 2002, drawing the same fine.
Arison’s comments, made on Twitter, were simply a response to an angry fan referring to owners as "greedy" and "pigs." This was not a black eye for the league. Arison was only sticking up for himself. This fine just shows that the NBA is a place where breaking a league-imposed gag order is more serious than breaking the law. Portland Trail Blazers guard Damon Stoudamire once was arrested for marijuana possession at an airport. His fine was half of the price Arison paid.
Here's a better question: Is anything about this lockout reasonable? Given the timing of Micky Arison's tweet, not to mention its severe implications, it's easy to understand why Commissioner David Stern came down way harder, compared with previous fines on Bobcats owner Michael Jordan and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis.
This lockout is all about the unified front, right? Arison's tweet sure made it sound like he's ready to cut a deal and play. And, really, after shelling out hundreds of millions for LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, who can blame him?
The funny thing is other owners reportedly pressured Stern to fine Arison as much as he did. Stern may well have reached a similar conclusion on his own. But it certainly speaks to the possibility of disagreement among the owners on the question of deal or no deal. Just like in the players association.
In other words, it's time to stop analyzing tweets and fines and strike a deal to play ball.
[Updated Nov. 2, 1:41 p.m.:
Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times
Let’s be honest, Heat owner Micky Arison’s tweets were highly entertaining, something that had to make you smile at some of its content.
Now, was the $500,000 fine he was allegedly given by the NBA for speaking out on Twitter to an angry fan reasonable?
No. What happened to free speech?
Then again, every NBA owner and team personnel knew when the lockout started that Commissioner David Stern had informed them that they would be fined if they spoke out about the lockout.
Arison is a smart man and had to know his pocketbook would get docked.
Apparently he didn’t care, as long as he was able to get his message out to his players, to other players, to the NBA fans and to other owners who are slowing down the process.
I hope it was money well spent by Arison.]
Photo: Micky Arison. Credit: David Adame / Associated Press