First, here is Monta Ellis’ statement in it’s entirety:
“To My Community, Friends and Fans:
I want to thank you very much for your continued support and encouragement. While management and I do not agree on their actions, I want to be clear that my injury is based on my mistake in judgment. And I always accept responsibility for my actions.
The Bay area has become home to me and I love everything about this community. I see the kids wearing Number 8 in the arena and around the Bay area and it always brings a big smile to my face and a sense of pride and responsibility. I accept that role because there were people in my life that made a difference during my childhood and into my adult life.
It means a lot to me to be an NBA player, and something that I have worked hard my entire to life to achieve. I also take seriously the impact that some of my actions have on others, and particularly our youth. I am working very hard to get back on the court and help my teammates and coaches win many games and recreate the playoff atmosphere of 2007. We were as excited on the court as the fans in the stands, and I will continue to work hard to make you proud of the Warriors.
Thank you for becoming such a special part of my life.”
Monta is so onto something here, I think. I was just discussing this with a Warriors’ staffer the other day. What they are trying to pull is “double jeopardy” by most accounts.
For those of you who are ready to rip me for being a player apologists, bring it. This one I am willing to take you on about. This is a rant I’ve got to share.
All jokes aside, I’ve been thinking about this a lot, trying to make sense of it. I can’t. Even though Ellis was dead wrong, the Warriors can’t sentence him twice for the same crime. When Ellis appeals this, an independent arbitrator will say the same thing.
Here’s the rationale. The Warriors had three options when to punish Monta: terminate the contract, suspend him or fine him. They chose to suspend him.
Under what jurisdiction in his country can you go back and tack on additional punishment later? Certainly no court of law.
Say I get arrested for … say … domestic violence. I go before the judge and he or she sentences me to a year in jail. Not even his or her honorable can bring me back into court – after I’ve finished my time – and sentence me to additional punishment because I have not improved enough as a husband. It just doesn’t work like that.
I know some of you are going to say. The Warriors staffer made the same argument, it’s only fair that the Warriors should be able to suspend him now and recover their money if he doesn’t pan out. But that is flawed logic, if you ask me. It is completely unfair.
Certainly, Ellis’ poor decision put the Warriors in a tough spot. But it’s a “tough” spot for a reason.
The Warriors had the option to terminate their contract and get their money back. And they chose not to. They had to assess the risk and reward from their options and make a choice. They did.
But what if they terminate his contract and he recovers fully and becomes a star?
What if they don’t terminate his contract and he is never the same?
They weighed the options. They made their choice, and they should have to live with it, just like Monta has to live with the consequences from their choice.
It would have been more reasonable had the Warriors, to continue the court analogy, “suspended the sentence.” They could have waited to see how Ellis recovers, reserving the right to impose the punishment later. Judges do it all the time. A judge could tell me, assuming I did abuse my wife, that he or should would suspend the sentence provided I complete anger management or marriage counseling. If I don’t by a certain date, I get five years. If I do, I get probation or whatever.
However, if you do that, you CANNOT impose a punishment until later. A judge can’t sentence me to the time AND make me do anger management AND throw the book at me if I still don’t turn out to be a good husband.
Sorry about the courtroom analogies. It is just the best way I can explain why I think Monta is right in this case, as wrong as he was to start.
An important caveat to note is that the Warriors can only punish him for violating his contract. If I understand this correctly, being injured and missing games is not a punishable offense. You can’t suspend him 30 games for violating a conduct clause in his contract, then terminate his contract because he’s too hurt to play. NBA contracts are guaranteed. Teams aren’t allowed to NOT pay a player because they are injured and not playing.
Therefore, whatever punishment the Warriors’ exact on Ellis is because he violated the uniform player contract. For that crime, they had three punishment options: terminate contract, suspend or fine.
They chose to suspend. Should be case closed.