If you think NBA Commissioner David Stern is strict, then you need to hear about the punishment that Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner Chito Salud just gave to Renaldo Balkman. Balkman, who was involved in a scuffle during a game late last week that ended with him trying to choke one of his own teammates, was just handed a fine of 250,000 pesos (roughly $6,000) and, more importantly, a lifetime ban from the PBA. That's right—a lifetime ban. Salud explained his decision to ban Balkman over the weekend.
"In arriving at this decision, I took into consideration Balkman's track record as a player, including the head-butting incident during a FIBA-Americas game between Puerto Rico and Venezuela and his altercation with the bench of the Alaska Aces during a preseason game in Cebu City," Salud said. "I also took into consideration Balkman's evident disregard for local and the host country's sensibilities highlighted by his choking act on-court in full public view of his own teammate who was trying to pacify him. Stiff as it may be, this decision upholds the tenets of contextual accountability and the overall interest of the League and the fans. I do encourage passion for the game but I also want to firmly instill a culture of accountability among our players. If one does something that violates the rules and the norms of sportsmanship and decent behavior, he will be made accountable."
Clearly! What Balkman did was kind of crazy, but a lifetime ban?! Even David Stern thinks that's a bit too much.