UnNews:NBA violence at highest level as new Defense Secretary sworn in
19 December 2006
WASHINGTON, DC -- The Pentagon and the National Basketball Association issued a joint report today which shows that violence during professional basketball games has spiraled out of control in the recent months. The report comes on the day that new Defense Secretary Robert Gates was sworn into office at a private White House ceremony presided over by Michael Jordan and President Bush.
Outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was ousted for his failure to even acknowledge the disaster that the NBA has become. Meanwhile, just this weekend a brutal melee at a Knicks-Nuggets game in New York resulted in seven suspensions, including a 150-game one for star Carmelo Anthony. Fines levied against the two teams totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars. "It is exactly these types of events that prevent reconstruction money from being devoted to proper team-rebuilding efforts in the NBA," critically commented Democratic Senator Harry Reid.
Gates promised to work closely with the NBA leadership as well as individual players to try and stem the violence. Many are skeptical though, especially since the final decision on a strategy shift rests with President Bush. The Referee in Chief has been vague about his plans so far, saying only, "Look, basketball is an important game. It's a good game. Players shoot a ball into a basket and score points. And we want to make sure it's safe. I will carefully review the findings of the Basketball Study Group and announce my decisions in the near future." The Study Group, consisting of former basketball superstars like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Larry Bird, issued a lengthy report earlier this month with itemized suggestions to solve the current crisis.
Meanwhile, the political process inside the NBA is in a desperate state, and many are calling for commissioner David Stern to resign, although the Bush administration is still publicly supporting him. He has been criticized for trying to reach out to fellow sports commissioners like baseball's Bud Selig, which the White House is adamantly opposed to because of baseball's steroid scandal. Press Secretary Tony Snow explained, "Once the baseball leadership deals with the steroid problem and stops denying the Holocaust, then we can sit down and talk to them."
Diplomats are struggling to find ways to stem the sectarian violence between different basketball teams. "It's ok to have disagreements, but the civilized way to settle them is by good dribbling and scoring baskets, not by throwing punches," lectured Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. She cited the previously troubled NFL as a good model, although later acknowledging that football-related murders have been up lately, and that the US has been unsuccessful in capturing Terrell Owens and eliminating him from the playing field.
- AP "Anthony suspended 15 games, no suspension for Thomas" "", December 18, 2006