Did Jason Smith Deserve More Than A Two-Game Suspension For This Flagrant Foul Against Blake Griffin?
On Thursday night, the Los Angeles Hornets traveled to play a road game against the New Orleans Hornets. Any other year, it wouldn’t have registered on the NBA’s Richter scale. After all, the Hornets have been a team that’s just barely made the playoffs the last few seasons. And the Clippers have been, well, the Clippers for the last few decades (yes, decades). But Thursday night was supposed to be a special night that would leave everyone talking because former Hornets point guard Chris Paul, now with the Clippers, was scheduled to play his first game back in the Big Easy. And the game did leave everyone talking—for all the wrong reasons.
For the most part, CP3′s return to NO got lost in the shuffle because of a play that left tongues wagging after the game. During the second half of the game, Hornets forward Jason Smith was chasing Clippers forward Blake Griffin down the court when it looked like BG would get one of his easy dunks. However, at the last second, Smith increased his speed, caught up to Griffin, and laid him out. And when say “laid him out,” we mean laid him OUT. He made no attempt to block Griffin and instead checked him to the ground and then didn’t even have the decency to go and check on him afterwards. So, he was handed a flagrant foul, ejected from the game, and made his way off the court to a standing ovation while he gave high-fives to some fans. He apologized after the game, but that made no difference to NBA Commissioner David Stern, who decided to suspend Smith for two games on Friday.
Now comes the question: Was the suspension enough? Clearly, something had to be done to make the point that this type of foul would not be permitted. But, does a two-game suspension do that? In reality, Smith’s foul could have ignited a brawl between both teams. It was that bad. It also could have led to retaliation later in the game. Therefore, I think he actually should have been suspended for even more games. A two-game suspension says, “Don’t you do that again.” But, a five-game or even ten-game suspension would have said, “Don’t ANYONE do that again.” It would have delivered a message to other NBA players and gotten them to think long and hard before delivering a hard foul.
What do you think, though? Was Smith’s suspension enough—or do you think he should have been suspended for more games for his actions?