Ever since the Metta World Peace crushed the side of James Harden’s head with an “unintentional” elbow, the league has been buzzing about the controversial forward getting another lengthy suspension by the NBA. Now that the verdict has been announced with World Peace out for the next seven games, Lakers fans and NBA analysts have reacted with mixed emotions over whether or not it was too harsh a punishment or right on the money.
With the majority of Lakers fans still irked about the vetoed Chris Paul trade before the season began, the suspension given to World Peace was going to receive some heavy criticism in Los Angeles. The one man that stood to take the most flak for the suspension was NBA Commissioner David Stern.
Now that the suspension has been given and World Peace will miss the first round of the NBA playoffs (unless it goes seven games), Stern must field questions about the controversial hit and the suspension it result in.
Here’s how Stern responded when asked about the length of the World Peace suspension via Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk:
“We look at previous penalties,” Stern said. “We look at who is involved in the altercation. We do take into account the seriousness of the injury, and a variety of whatever else is in the atmosphere, and then it just becomes my job to decide what it should be….
“I have to decide what’s justice here and what’s fairness here and we came to seven.”
Stern also said that another factor that went into the suspension was that the bulk of the games missed would be in the playoffs which are more meaningless in terms of impacting the player and the team.
In a way to deflect more questions about World Peace’s suspension, Stern talked about the success of this shortened NBA season regardless of the NBA lockout.
Even though some believe that this suspension was too long or not long enough, the Lakers are lucky they will only have to play without their starting forward throughout the first round. The penalty could’ve been much more severe and might’ve resulted in a devastating blow to the team’s chances of competing for a NBA title.