Selective enforcement is a bad thing, whether you’re talking about alleged superstar calls or the rule that says Dwight Howard has 10 seconds to get on with it and shoot that free throw. So it’s reassuring to hear that lockout gag rules apply equally to Bobcats owner Michael Jordan, who was fined $100,000 for violating the league’s ban on discussing individual players and collective bargaining issues during the lockout, according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard. The NBA confirmed to The Associated Press that Jordan was fined but would not comment on the total.
The league had no choice but to fine Jordan over comments he made to the Herald Sun in Australia last month. (Side note: Some athlete types are still surprised that folks in America can find and read international news sources.) Jordan gave his views on Andrew Bogut’s game and went into detail about why he is a “hawk” when it comes to the collective bargaining talks and the push among small-market owners for increased revenue sharing:
“The model we’ve been operating under is broken. We have 22 or 23 teams losing money, (so) I think we have gotta come to some kind of understanding in this partnership that we have to realign,” Jordan said.
“I can’t say so much … but I know the owners are not going to move off what we feel is very necessary for us to get a deal in place where we can co-exist as partners. We need a lot of financial support throughout the league as well as revenue sharing to keep this business afloat.”
A year ago, the league fined Wizards owner Ted Leonsis $100,000 for publicly (and happily) predicting that the NBA would adopt a hard salary cap. The NBA, then, had no choice but to hit Jordan with the same fine. Heck, in May 2010, Dallas owner Mark Cuban was fined $100,000 for saying he might be interested in working a sign-and-trade for LeBron James if such an opportunity presented itself. At the same time, the league fined Steve Kerr, then the Suns’ president of basketball operations (and, importantly, not an owner), only $10,000 for joking that he’d like to sign LeBron with the mid-level exception.
Go through the recent history of league fines, and you’ll see that the NBA reserves the six-figure knocks only for the incidents it considers most serious. The league fined the Knicks $200,000 for holding illegal predraft workouts in violation of NBA rules. The $100,000 figure has only come up for lockout-related musings; comments that could be considered tampering ahead of free agency; the angriest anti-referee rants; and Kobe Bryant’s caught-on-TV use of an anti-gay slur during a tirade directed at an official.
Jordan’s words fit the bill.