I'm by no means a real fan of J.A. Adande, but he makes an interesting point in this morning's Daily Dime, contrary to my belief that he would side with his Lakers, whom he covered for a long time. His first thought ties into the Kobe Bryant situation. Adande writes:
Most significant is an elbow Bryant threw that caught Artest in the throat as they were jockeying for position under the basket. The NBA rulebook states that a player must be ejected for "an elbow foul which makes contact above shoulder level." By the standard that's been set in these playoffs, Bryant should be suspended. Orlando's Dwight Howard was when he elbowed Philadelphia's Samuel Dalembert in the head. Superstar or not, the head and neck have been deemed off-limits for elbows.
Then he gets to Fisher:
The explanation put forth by Fisher and advocated by Phil Jackson was that Fisher just wanted to fight through the screen and it looked worse because Scola stopped short of where Fisher expected him to be.
Uh-uh. We haven't seen someone take so long to load up since people were fighting with muskets. But what could keep Fisher in the lineup for Game 3 was that Fisher hit Scola square in the chest -- below the shoulders. It's similar to the justification for not suspending Rajon Rondo for his roller-derby toss of Kirk Hinrich into the scorer's table
It's a very level-headed prospective. I wrote that Scola was hit in the face, but that was on my first look at the play. After reviewing it, it does look like first contact point is in the upper chest area. It's the beauty of replay - I may have written something based off what I saw last night, but after some clarification, I can then report my updated opinion.
I think we would all like Fisher to be suspended, but if he isn't, we will have an appropriate explanation. That is, if Kobe Bryant is suspended instead.
It will depend what the league decides to do. Either you suspend the league's most popular player and stay consistent, or you branch off that and only suspend Fisher. An excuse from the league may be that there was no foul called on Kobe, whereas Fisher was immediately tossed. If that indeed becomes the case, then shame on the NBA for changing up their policies.
I think it is asking a little much to see both Bryant and Fisher suspended, and according to what Adande has written, it would be a surprise. But I don't think it would be unfair, as Fisher's attempt was clearly with malicious intent. However, as we wait, look for a single suspension. The right call would be to suspend Bryant and take a pass on Fisher, allowing the ejection to serve as his punishment. It annoys me to let Fisher off like that, but I just don't see the league suspending two players from the same team without suspending a player from the opposing team. And if they suspend Ron Artest, that would be a shame. He did nothing to warrant a suspension - all he did was run his mouth, something that Kobe did for the entire game.
However, we know how the NBA values its superstars. We know that they would like to see Kobe in uniform for Game 3 for the sake of the series. But if they suspended Dwight Howard, then they shouldn't lay off of Bryant. It would be obvious favoritism.