Memories are pretty short these days. Social media apparently has contributed to an atmosphere where today’s scandal lasts only until tomorrow, when the next one occurs.

And anything prior to that becomes a lost memory.

That was my first thought when I saw the penalties handed down to the participants in the NBA’s latest on-court punching incident.

I realize the Kermit Washington haymaker on Rudy Tomjanovich was a long time ago, but it should never be forgotten.

The NBA has gotten soft on players recently and in this case, it actually might end up being potentially injurious to them. Fines and suspensions have to be large enough when it comes to fighting to serve as a deterrent to future incidents.

And probably, in a fracas a little more recent, Carmelo Anthony HAS NOT forgotten his part in a brawl in Madison Square Garden. And he was the first to admit he was “shocked” at how softly Paul, his teammate, was  treated by the league.

“I’m actually a little shocked at the number of games that they are missing,” Anthony said, following the Rockets’ 115-112 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers. Lakers’ swingman Brandon Ingram was banned for four games, Rondo for three.

“It actually works in our favor to be honest with you,” he continued. “I have seen it go 10-15 games before – I was the culprit of that years ago. But to see CP – I don’t want to be speaking on CP – but to see CP only get two games ... I didn’t know what to expect to be honest.

“Nothing surprises me with the NBA anymore, nothing surprises me. So for him to only get two games is good.”

Anthony was referring to a 2006 incident in Madison Square Garden when he was suspended for 15 games for his part in an on-court fight.

My goodness, they give players a one-game suspension these days for merely crossing over the sideline by a step or two during an altercation but a guy who actually throws a punch gets only two games?


Where is the logic – or fairness – in that?

And when the suspensions (and resulting missed paychecks) become manageable for players, you’re going to see dangerous incidents.

The Kermit Washington punch could have cost Rudy T. his life. These players are big, strong and many times don’t even know their own strength. A lot of them have probably never been in a real fight in their life.

And there can be NO justification for them EVER throwing a punch in a game.

That includes insults, pushes or shoves and yes, even a player spitting on someone.  There can be no rationale for escalating dangerous situations. Before you know it, more cheap shots are going to happen and somebody is going to be seriously injured, sometimes even by accident, by his own player.

The days when fights occurred on a regular basis in the league were NOT the good old days. Often, these altercations led to fan participation and when that happens, there's a potential for seriously violent situations in today’s world.

This incident involving Maurice Lucas and Darryl Dawkins has been glamorized over the years but people who were there still speak about what a scary scene it was. And don’t forget this more recent incident where an on-court spat spread into the seats.

The NBA most do everything it can to ensure this stuff never happens again. And allowing even a single punch – no matter the justification – to go lightly punished is a step in the wrong direction.

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