Was NBA's $500K fine of Arison reasonable?

November 03, 2011

Fine way out of line

Shandel Richardson

Sun Sentinel

Someone please tell me Heat owner Micky 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 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, simply were 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 shows the NBA is a place where breaking a league-imposed gag order is more serious than breaking the law.


All about a unified front

K.C. Johnson

Chicago Tribune

Here's a better question: Is anything about this lockout reasonable? Given the timing of Arison's tweet, not to mention its severe implications, it's easy to understand why David Stern came down way harder than he did with previous fines to Bobcats owner Michael Jordan and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis.

This lockout is all about the unified front, right? Arison's tweet made it sound like he's ready to cut a deal. And, really, after shelling out hundreds of millions for LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, who can blame him?

Other owners reportedly pressured Stern to fine Arison as badly as he did. That speaks to the possibility of disparity among the owners on deal or no deal. Just like in the players' union.


Didn't fine him enough

Josh Robbins

Orlando Sentinel

I abhor the gag order that the NBA has imposed on its employees and on its teams. But limiting comments about the labor negotiations is a smart business move.

The negotiations are as competitive as a Game 7 of an NBA Finals. Each side is searching for every possible advantage.

Arison's tweet showed that league owners are not completely unified. That revelation must encourage the players' union and makes it less likely that the union will agree to a deal it considers objectionable.

Arison's fine is a preventative measure that will help league owners maintain their bargaining position. If anything, the league didn't fine Arison heavily enough.


What about free speech?

Broderick Turner

Los Angeles Times

Arison's tweets were highly entertaining.

Now, was the $500,000 fine reasonable? No. What happened to free speech?

Then again, every NBA owner knew when the lockout started that David Stern would fine them if they spoke out about the lockout.

Arison 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.


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