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Monta’s Onto Something

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.

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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.”

Warmly, Monta

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?
Oh well.
What if they don’t terminate his contract and he is never the same?
Oh well.
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.

Marcus Thompson

  • Twinkie defense

    Marcus, I’e been saying for some time that Monta ought to appeal, that his suspension and fine was unnecessarily harsh, and that he’ll probably get his fine reduced in arbitration.

    But this is governed by the CBA, not the courts.

    Remember Latrell – while I believe that was under a different CBA, he was first suspended for 10 days (punishment #1), then his contract terminated (punishment #2). Couldn’t the Warriors do something similar with Monta?

    Mind you, I think they’d be stupid to do so – they should accept whatever the arbitrator says and move on. But couldn’t they do so, if they wanted?

  • Marcus

    Twinkie Defense,

    Great point you bring out. I forgot all about this. I especially appreciate it because it proves my point. The Warriors suspended him for 10 games, then terminated the contract two days later. So, in essence, they didn’t punish him twice, they amended their first punishment to make it more severe. That’s different than if they let him serve the 10-game punishment, then went back and terminated his contract.
    But, most important, the Warriors’ punishment was overturned by an independent arbitrator, John Feerick, after the union filed a Grievance (which is what I am assuming the union will be doing on behalf of Ellis).
    Feerick ruled that the Warriors could not terminate his contract. His reason: it was unfair.
    Why was it unfair? The NBA, in addition to the Warriors’ terminating his contract, suspended Sprewell for 12 months. Feerick ruled that it was excessive for the league AND the Warriors to levy a penalty against him. So not only did Feerick reduce the NBA’s punishment from 12 months to 7 months, but he threw out the Warriors’ punishment and reinstated Sprewell’s contract.
    In other words, Feerick said it was unfair to punish him twice for the same crime. Sounds familiar?

  • dan

    Marcus-

    please stop kissing Monta’s ass. Please man, save your dignity and grace for something better than his ass.

  • Marcus

    Dan,

    That’s the best you could come with?

  • Ryan

    Marcus,

    I work in law, so I’ll offer up a few ideas.
    (and bear in mind that, while I am familiar with contracts and contract law, it isn’t my specialty).

    This will be an issue of the exact wording of Monta’s contract, and what the CBA stipulates regarding a situation like this. I need to look into the CBA more to see the language, but it really will be key here.

    As for Double Jeopardy analogy, it doesn’t really work: the term comes from criminal law, as opposed to civil law, and states that a person cannot be tried for the same alleged crime more than the one proper trial. Contracts are a matter of civil law, and indeed there is something like this with civil law (as in, if a lower court settles the issue, unless an appeal is made and something happens with a higher court, that ruling *per that issue* stands). But contracts may have multiple independent stipulations, and raising issue with one doesn’t always raise the others. Even more to the point: this didn’t make it trial or arbitration, and given that Monta violated the terms, they still could legally void the contract (even though an attempt at remedy has apparently been decided, unilaterally). Also, depending on a number of factors, the warriors may only be offering a provisional remedy (which would require a certain level of performance)–though I believe both parties have to agree to that. In the normal world, were Monta’s contract voided after even after a suspension, Monta would likely sue, and trial would occur (unless otherwise settled).

    The CBA kicks in here, though. as it will govern the remedies available. I doubt the warriors are brazen or foolish enough to outright challenge the CBA, so there might be something in the cba or the contract allowing them to think this way…we’ll see.

  • commish

    Marcus, although I totally agree with your passion and sentiment–and would have liked a much less severe fine–I think the “legal beagals” are correct in that the CBA operates with its own rules and can’t be compared to the law as we understand it. I also think so much of the recent anger coming at Rowell is directly portional to the fan’s support for Monta. I hope Monta’s appeal prevails but only time will tell.

  • gary

    I agree with Ryan… this is a civil situation, not criminal. Much depends on the wording of the contract and the league rules.

    However, the entire issue in my mind is fairly simple…

    1. The 30 game suspension was a result of violating his contract. The assumption here is that he is whole once his suspension is over. After the suspension, the Ws want him to play for the team at his pre-injury level, or better.

    2. If he is not whole and cannot play at his pre-injury level (maybe ever again), why pay the guy $6M / year for something he caused through his own negligence and callous disregard for the contract he signed?

    This is simple business. Why pay for damaged goods when you specifically ordered the contractee not to engage in career-threatening activities?

  • Marcus

    I was only using the law as an analogy, not as the reason. I am not saying that Monta will win because he has some law behind it.
    By the way, John, you are right about the double jeopardy. When I think about, it doesn’t work, because usually when you try to convict someone a second time for a crime, it’s because they got off. In this case, Monta didn’t get off. He was convicted and punished.
    Anyway, I just wanted to make clear, I am not saying Monta is right because of the law. I just know how these things work. You all do, too. You’ve seen players win appeals with much less than this.
    The CBA doesn’t dictate punishment. There are no pre-determined sentences. I’ve read the thing back and forth. The CBA gave them the three options I mentioned before. If it mandated punishment, it would be be cut and dry. The CBA gives discretion of severity of the punishment to the team and the league. As a recourse, the players union can appeal. That’s where the independent arbitrator comes in.
    So, it’s not about law. (I’m just addicted to court shows), or the judge leaning on some law to rule in favor of Monta. I’m saying Monta is onto something because I totally believe after his grievance is heard, an arbitrator is going to say “C’mon Warriors, you are trying to pull a fast one.”
    I wouldn’t be surprised if it was ruled the Warriors can’t later terminate his contract, but that they reduce the fine. Ryan, as you know, presedence is huge. And 30 games is way more than the previous punishment for violating uniform player contract. I don’t think the 30 games is unfair, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that is reduced.

  • EJ

    I think some of you are missing the point. The Warriors were presented to opportunity to punish Ellis and they did; suspension. The case SHOULD be closed after that. They can’t say “Oh, well you suck now so give us our money back”. As long as Monta is able to play basketball, he deserves the future money he is due. It’s not a Jay Williams thing where his career ended.

  • Tony

    I couldn’t agree more Marcus. Well written.

  • PhilB

    If Monta is recovering ahead of schedule, I’m hoping that his suspension is reduced on appeal; say, 10 games and $1million. That would be more in line with Vlad Radmanovic’s punishment ($500k), who also initially lied about the cause of his injury.

    Management (i.e. Rowell) has a right to be angry but they are not handling this well; they could ultimately lose not only in the court of public opinion, but Monta himself (by alienating him).

    Rowell also deserves some of the blame for underestimating Baron’s desire for an extension, and letting him walk. So he also owes it to the fans to cut Monta some slack in this situation.

  • Scotty

    Hey Gary,

    Try doing 66 over 6 in your head again.

  • Jon

    Cross posting from 48-minutes.net
    Hoping to add to the legal analysis

    The Ellis situation is a hybrid of Duhon and Sprewell’s situations.

    The basis for the Warriors/NBA action against Sprewell was that his actions violated a “moral turpitude” clause in his Uniform Player Contract (used by virtually all pro athletes).

    Ordinarily under plain english language, the normal person would consider choking one’s coach a pretty immoral action. In the legal context, however, the term “moral turpitude” is different (specifically, it means whatever the supervising court/authority/agency says it means). In law, assault might fall outside the definition of “moral turpitude”, but perjury falls within it. Yeah, lying is “worse” than assault, at least in some situations.

    Thus, the Warriors/NBA had to argue that Sprewell’s actions fell within the scope of this ambiguous “moral turpitude” clause. Specifically, they had to prove some sort of premeditation to get his assault to rise to the level of “moral turpitude”, and the arbitrator did not buy that argument.

    Also relevant to the arbitrator’s decision was that the voiding os Sprewell’s contract cost the player more money than all of the other fines previously imposed TOTALED together.

    Ellis’ situation involves far less subjective interpretion to find that he breached. The contract explicitly forbids riding a moped, and thats what he did. The breach in contract is much clearer here.

    Thats where Duhon comes in- his breach was also clear. He was injured riding a motorcycle; that’s forbidden in the player contract. The Bulls had an clear right to void his deal, but CHOSE to do a buyout. The NBA, upon hearing of this, actually told the Bulls they did not have to buy him out. The Bulls decided to buy Duhon out voluntarily…why? Maybe Kruase/Reinsdorf felt sorry for him, maybe they wanted to avoid arbitration and drawing out the process. Maybe both. Would voiding have held up in arbitration? Probably, but we won’t know because it didn’t get there.

    Conclusion:
    The breach here in Ellis’ case is much closer to Duhon than Sprewell- it happened.

    Was the punishment appropriate?

    If the comparison is that voiding the deal = $66M fine, then that will far surprass any other fine ever imposed, and likely exceeds all fines ever imposed added together. As we saw in Sprewell, that did not turn out well for the NBA/Warriors.

    As for the “double jeopardy”…I think it would come down to how the Warriors “reserved their rights” as Rowell mentioned frequently. The Warriors tried to do that with Sprewell, but that failed. However, it failed because the NBA got involved, and that’s not the case. I also believe the arbitrator said dual punishment was generally allowed, only that this specific punishment was excessive. Important difference.

    There is certainly something here to argue about before an arbitrator.

  • Jon

    off-topic comment on some legal concepts thrown about:

    While most people think of criminal law as a question solely of EITHER guilt OR innocence, the actual practice of law is (As usual) more nuanced:

    What exactly is the accused being …accused of?

    Is he, in fact, guilty of the accusation(s)?

    If he’s guilty, then what is the appropriate response?

    Have the proceedings been conducted fairly?

    Thus, it goes beyond “omg ellis/random defendant did something bad! he should be punished”.

    Just what did Ellis do?
    What is the appropriate remedy?

    Though I spoke in criminal terms and this is a civil case (further governed by the CBA), the analogy stands. It’s not enough to superficially say “he did it”, one has to define what “it” is and consider the appropriateness of the response.

    Otherwise, we could just throw out the CBA and let David Stern or random person decide what is right or wrong and slap people around depending on what he or she sees fit at the time.

  • Ryan M

    Jon- I think you meant Jay Williams, not Duhon.

  • Chris

    Great take Marcus. The concerning trend here with Rowell’s power play is that he is looking at everything from strictly a business stand point and not a basketball standpoint. Honestly, I think 30 games was a pretty fair penalty, but what Mullin understands (and Rowell does not seem to get) is that the team is essentially being handed from Baron to Monta. The reality of the situation is that the Warriors as a basketball team would have been better served trying to reach out to Monta and not alienate him. He’s not just another player; they just handed him $60 million plus and now Rowell wants to play “who’s the boss” and risk making this a massive war. That’s why Mullin did not want to go hard. Don’t get me wrong, Mullin has and conitnues to make irrational decisions ($100 million offer to Gilbert and his 80 year old knees would have killed us for 10 more years).

    Yes, Rowell is trying to have his cake and eat it on this one. Either he tears the contract up now or he moves forward and does not drop any more of this “reserve the right” language. Great way to lure players here by the way.

  • Jon

    Chris

    If we are paying $11m/year for a broken Monta Ellis, luring players here would be the last of our worries. We’d have $11M less money available to even sign them to begin with.

    Rowell’s doing his job- preserving the fiscal sanity of the franchise. He’s the last guy to blame in this.

  • Ewok

    My take in all these is this,

    If the organization is really serious and bent into a championship amid all these issues and controversies, it should set an atmosphere free from rhetorics and accusations but discussions leading to creative solutions fair to both parties. It has to set some sort of harmony to resolve things or obtain a win-win situation at best.

    Now that the season is about to start, Rowell and company starts throwing barbs and monkey wrenches at Monta! What’s this all about? What’s this going to achieve? Then you add the uncertainty of Mullin’s tenure which emanates from Rowell’s odd silence about the issue….

    True Monta made a mistake! and 11 million a year is costly but at this point, were not even sure yet if Monta is permanently disabled, and this mistake can cost his career severely. What good will it do to crucify him?

    Suspend his pay for the games he will not play is fair enough. But void his contract all together?

    Give him the chance to redeem himself. If you gambled on a player. You will gamble on his person too. In this case, Monta made a mistake, but who doesn’t?

    If he can’t become his old self anymore, We’ll cross the bridge when we get there.

    I think the message Cohan and Rowell is sending is, “Give me back my money!” and Mullin, since you judged this case not in their favor, your walking papers are on the way.

    Im beginning to be convinced at this point, Cohan and Rowell are simply about money not a championship, not loyalty, not compassion.

  • Jon

    Ewok

    Um. What are you talking about? Ellis is the one that just released a statement. The Warriors haven’t said anything about it in weeks (the focus has been on Nellie/Jack contract talks, anyways).

    The Warriors haven’t voided his contract. They’ve RESERVED THE RIGHT TO DO SO. It’s a big difference.

    Were they merely demanding “give me back my money”, they would have voided it outright.

    Taking this approach clearly says the opposite: we want the TEAM to be good- if we’re good because Ellis returns to form, awesome; if it’s not, we don’t want your contract in the way of our making other moves to improve the team.

    Seriously, your post comes off as a rabid rant against management with no consideration of what actually happened.

    If Cohan and Rowell were simply about money, they would not be in the business of basketball. There’s better ways to get rich.

  • Jaysohn

    I just can’t see anyway to blame the Warriors here. We make an outcry all the time about how we wish and need athletes to be more responsible for their actions and to act as role models. Acting like a role model in this case would be accepting your punishment and working your butt of to get back to 100%. I’m tired of the alienation argument. Life isnt fair and most of us have had something happen at our jobs that we certainly didn’t agree with and we arent scheduled to make over 60 million dollars. So if Monta’s feelings are hurt does that mean he’s not going to try to do everything in his power to perform at his best for the next 6 years?? If that is the type of person he is then we as fans are worried about the wrong thing here. Don’t get me wrong, I like Monta and I’m not a huge fan of the front office or ownership but to even debate this is exactly whats wrong with pro sports today. To feel sorry for or to think its unfair whats happening to Monta for even one minute places too much value on the whole situation and leads to all the unaccountability we supposedly so bemoan.

  • Airplanerider

    Maybe the suspension was Monta’s punishment for lying to the club about his injury. The potential voiding of the contract would be for engaging in the prohibited activity in the first place.

    Monta screwed up twice, so what’s wrong with two punishments?

    Further, you may read the Warriors position on the situation as, “In regards to Monta Ellis’ breaking the terms of his contract, the Warriors retain the right to void his contract if he cannot return to his pre-injury level. In the meantime the Warriors are placing Monta on a 30 game suspension.” That is one response and punishment, not two.

    No arbitrator in their right mind would side with Monta anyway. He may end up not even being able to walk without pain for the rest of his life, let alone play basketball. If that’s the case, he should not get a dime of that contract.

    He screwed up, now he doesn’t want to face the consequences. Sad.

  • Airplanerider

    Ewok,

    Sounds to me that Monta is the one who is all about money and not accepting his role in this. Right now he should be worried about getting himself back to being able to walk and play basketball. If he can do that successfully, he will get paid with no questions.

    Personally, I don’t think he has any confidence in making a comeback, otherwise this appeal would be pointless. His priorities seem all screwed up. He needs to worry about rehab first and money later.

  • Chris

    Jon, don’t think you got the gist of my whole strand. There’s got to be a balance between business and the product. Good move by Rowell saying no to the Baron contract extension (though I wished I had heard he said no to the alarming Gilbert deal on the table). Having said that, Rowell is not doing his job if he’s doesn’t start checking his ego. By the way, is it just me or does Rowell look a little like Vince Vaughn…

  • jsl

    As Ryan pointed out first, this isn’t double jeopardy — and mixing crimes and contracts is like mixing apples and oranges. What Marcus is saying is — from his viewpoint — it ain’t fair; others see it differently, believing that Monta shouldn’t get paid for his (now) admitted breach — and if he never gets back to form, the team shouldn’t be on the hook for $60 million. So, it sounds like an arbitration issue. Big surprise.

    But while Marcus focuses on this issue, what concerned me most was one sentence in Fried’s draft statement for Monta (I doubt anyone thinks Monta penned that himself). That line that Monta “always” takes “responsibility” for his actions is — simply — a bald-faced lie. Were it true, he would have owned up to his conduct immediately. Instead, in league with Fried (the slimiest of agents, and we include Drew Rosenhaus, unfortunately), Monta lied, then hid, and has effectively remained silent — avoiding any discussion of “responsibility” with the media — until Fried concocted this false apologia while setting forth his arbitration theory.

    It’s my strong hope that Monta makes it back, and we get to see him do what he does best: play electrifying basketball (and maybe, as in his rookie year, a little defense). But I wouldn’t take on the team for trying to protect itself as a result of Monta’s bad conduct. Rowell’s no saint, but there’s little wrong with trying to protect yourself — so long as you’re honest about it.

  • 15/70

    The Warriors are punishing Monta based on current information and if/when they get different information they may increase the suspension or choose contract termination.

    Think of it this way, if you were brought up for sexual harassing a co-worker and suspended for 30 days based on information available at the time (and maybe you lie to protect yourself). The co-worker sues the company, then during the trial it was shown how egregious your behavior was and based on the new information you are then fired.

    Should the company not be able to fire you because they already suspended you? Even if you had a contract, it is likely the contract included a clause about sexual harassment being forbidden behavior, so you would be terminated for cause.

    Monta is being fined because his behavior has caused him to likely miss 30 games but there is a chance he will never be the same player. If later it is determined that his behavior will cost him his entire career it is hard to believe that the Warriors would be on the hook for his contract since he was engaged in forbidden behavior.

    Again, Monta needs to be accountable for this injury in more than words. Great… Monta is sorry 2 months later for his actions after lying to the team and the media. He needs to be accountable for a 30 game suspension if he misses 1/3 of the season and accountable for losing out on $66 million if he is damaged goods.

    Sorry, Monta… you barely have a leg to stand on.

  • Travis

    well said Jaysohn. i cant fault the team here. the punishment then re-punishment analogies dont really seem to apply here. keep in mind Monta has money coming to him for 6 years of work he hasnt done yet! why shouldnt the warriors be able to wait and see if Monta has done all in his power to get healthy again? I dont think Monta has done himself any favours in earning team trust with the way he handled the whole thing. Im sure he’s a little scared right now with $66mil being dangled over the shredder, but the warriors are in a tough spot too if he doesnt come back the same player.
    good luck to him though

  • Marcus

    Jaysohn, Travis

    You guys sound like you are not looking at this case alone, but taking all of your feelings about everything into it. This can’t be about players making too much or personal responsibility or whatever. This is about what’s right in this situation, these circumstances. That’s how an independent arbitrator will look at it.
    The one thing I agree with you two, and others, on this is that the Warriors should have the right to see how Monta recovers and if he’s doing all he can. But that means you can’t suspend him now.

    Say we are “reserving the right” to penalize him down the road. And you make the decision after you have all the facts, including how he recovers. You don’t punish him now and punish him later if necessary.

    Seriously, Travis, Jaysohn, your fanship with the Warriors and disgust with outta control athletes aside, you really think it is OK to suspend him for 30 games, which is tied for the third-longest suspension ever, then make him play under the pressure of future penalty for the error he has already paid for? If you’re thinking of the franchise, is it best for the team to have Monta playing while thinking my whole contract could be yanked away if I don’t score 20+ a night?
    And how long do they get to determine? Can they wait until year 4 and terminate the contract? If they did, how do we know they aren’t doing it to cut salary and re-shape the team? And how do you measure it? Scoring average? Defensive improvement? Fast break points? Games played? Most important, who measures it?
    So three years from now, after the Warriors have won 30 games two years in a row, and all these contracts they’ve been shelling out start piling up, the Warriors can then say “Monta, you aren’t the same player, we are terminating your contract” to improve their cap situation?
    Monta made a huge mistake. But to say his mistake gives the Warriors the freedom to toy with his career is ridiculous. They aren’t completely innocent because they risked giving $66 million to a 22-year-old. I don’t buy that should totally be absolved from all ramifications.
    If you want to take a stand against irresponsibility, terminate his contract now and move on. And if he pans out for another team, then that’s the price you pay for taking a high-road stance. But if you’re going to approach this from a strictly business move, then don’t be mad when Ellis does the same thing and does what he can to protect his money.

    15/70
    Your co-worker analogy has one flaw: the suspension COULD NOT kick in until final verdict. It’s just like when you appeal in sports. You get to play until the appeal is heard and the judgement is rendered. If you lose, you start the suspension.

  • Jon

    Marcus…

    It would be absolutely the best thing for the Warriors to reserve their rights. From a legal/sports law standpoint, maybe it’s not “fair”, but as a FAN of the Warriors, what could be better than:

    Waiting.
    Seeing if he’s ok.
    If he’s 80-100%, doing nothing.
    If he’s less than that, voiding the deal and putting $11M into other players.

    I can’t quite think of a better alternative given our current scenario.

    On the flip side, it would be BAD for the team to not be able to void the deal, then watching Ellis collect $11M/year while playing like Penny Hardaway (present-day Penny Hardaway…the one not playing anymore).

  • Mike

    I don’t see anything wrong with what the Warriors have done. At a minimum, Monta’s action is costing the Warriors his services, probably for at least the duration of the suspension. So he is suspended and doesn’t get paid for non performance. If it turns out that his action produces a player much different from the one they signed to a long term contract, they should have the option to terminate the contract in its entirety. He’ll probably come back just fine, so the termination option will likely be moot. But it seems like justice to me. All subject to the CBA, of course.

  • 15/70

    Marcus,
    I’m confident you could suspend an employee for a period of time for a violation and then down the road still fire them if/when new facts become available.

    You can always fire someone, the real question is can you void a contract for violating this particular clause of the contract.

    Since this is the boilerplate NBA contract and the purpose of this clause is to make sure teams are not responsible for millions of dollars to players that act recklessly, I have to believe the Warriors are covered here.

    The similar case with Jay Williams of Chicago was settled because the contract liability was about $10 million and the buyout was only $3 million. A 30% buyout is very low by buyout standards, I think this was more or less a gift from the Bulls(who likely could have voided the contract if they wanted), and William accepted the gift because it was his only move. Chicago did this as a PR move, but there is a huge difference between $3 million PR move and a $66 million PR move.

    Warrior fans should actually be glad the team is taking a hard line with Monta, if he can’t perform, his $11 million a year contract will almost guarantee the team is not competitive for the next 6 years.

    Marcus, you should consult an employment/contract attorney for a better explanation, but I would bet the double jeopardy rule only applies to prosecution not to employee contract relations.

  • Ewok

    I fully agree with Marcus,

    Jon, by the way, what you are suggesting is exactly what is represssing the Monta’s situation and career.

    Wait? For what? He was already punished. Wait for more punishment?

    If he is not his old self anymore, then a new round of negotiations should begin agreeable and practical to the interest of both parties. But voiding the contract AFTER suspending him is too much. Perhaps manipulative in my opinion.

    Monta made a costly mistake. He was punished for that.

    The problem however as it seems is that he has to be punished more by implications of voiding his contract all together if he is not 100 percent his old self.

    Whoa! 30 game suspension not enough?

    Punishments are made for reform and to set example.

    It seems to me this one is more about Control, Business Opportunity and quite possibly a big Rebate in my opinion. I mean where will this end?

    Moreso, What is the reforming spirit of this punishments?

    The franchise gambled on Monta. Monta made a mistake by violating his contract. Ok he lied about it too as well. He was punished severely for it, should he be punished again? When will this end?

    In my opinion, The severity of the punishment is not on the 30 game suspension (though its already severe). The severity is the reserved right of the franchise of voiding the contract all together AFTER the suspension.

    So if Monta is averaging 22 pts a game and he can only come up with 16, 18 pts after his rehab, We have a problem? See how inconsistent this measure can be?

    If the Warriors were really serious about Monta’s case, They should have set the tone for a discussion to negotiate the interest of both parties. Not the strong arm approach.. If the office is really serious about the team performing well into the playoffs and a title, all these discussions should have been done close doors, away from the media, with the interest of protecting the harmony of the team. They should have killed the fire before it spreads.

    But look, Just about when the games are about to start, Implications of more punishment is on the way, quite possibly the eventual voiding of a contract. Not only that, Mullin is also implied on his way out as well and for what, because he believes in giving second chance of which he is a recipient of, for being able to discount BDiddy’s value to 39 million? Sure he made mistakes with Dunleavy (who is doing well in Indiana) but his achievements faaaaaar outweigh his mistakes. Heck, Mullin has done a way better job than St. Jean! and Mullin is making strides.

    All these are just my opinion though.

  • Ewok

    Jon,

    let me quote you.

    “If Cohan and Rowell were simply about money, they would not be in the business of basketball. There’s better ways to get rich.”

    You really think so?

  • Jon

    Um, you don’t think so?

    You’re completely dense and missing the point.

    If Ellis cannot return after his injury, then this is no longer a “Radmonovic” situation where he injured himself temporarily- this would become a “Duhon” situation where the career is effectively over.

    Why would any Warrior fan want to blow $11M in cap space on a player who can’t play anymore? You like shooting yourself in the foot?

    You continually characterize the Warriors action as “punishment”. You’re wrong. This is business, not crime. The Warriors at the moment cannot know if Ellis will come back sufficiently well to be worth $11M a year.

    Your yourself admitted that if Ellis cannot come back “a new round of negotiations should begin”. Um…if you’re conceding that, then what the F are you whing about? The Warriors HAVE NOT VOIDED ELLIS DEAL- they only reserved (or are attempting to reserve, since it’ll go to arbitration) the right to do so.

    If you cannot make that distinction, then you need to remove yourself from this discussion.

  • goingforthemoney.com

    Marcus,
    I understand where you tryin’ to come from, but why should the community,fans,friends,W’s organization and especially season ticket holders like myself have to suffer double jeapardy ourselves. Here’s my unscientific logic. For the W’s not to impose the strategy that they’re embarking on would be foolish of them as an organization. First of all he is not able to provide the service for which his profession calls for him to get paid due to his own foolishness of violating a clause in his contract. You and I wouldn’t be getting paid except for longterm disability. Have him try that out for size while i as a fan am sitting at the oracle and not getting what i paid for which is monta in uniform. Secondly since The W’s organization and the season ticket holder have made investments on deliverable good which cannot be delivered, we are owed more than an apology. The product that I am now getting is inferior due to Monta’s contract violation and injury. The caveat is this. The W’s and the season ticket holder are due reciprocity. He should not be paid for not being able to do anything for the time being and the W’s should be given enough time to evaluate his potential to live up to the pre statue of his injury, otherwise it could be another Grant Hill situation due to an injury that may never return Monta to his previous form. So I ask you Marcus why should The organization or season ticket holder have to suffer twice; don’t you really believe that it’s fair that the W’s should have the right to know if He’s damaged goods. That can’t happen until he gets back from his injury and then some. Besides as far as i’m concerned the W’s are letting him off pretty easy by suspending him now and not hurting the team further or the fans by suspending him when he comes back which would affectively cause, so to speak double jeapardy for the fans, his teammates, and the organization as a whole. Here’s hoping that it doesn’t come to that for all parties involved. One other point is its pretty selfish for Monta and his agent to be thinking about it like that in the first place. He took a gamble and lost and lied to cover it up and it should cost him what the W’s are asking. Look what it cost the Bulls when jason williams from duke crashed his motorcycle and cost the organization of a potential superstar and his own opportunity. It set the organization back and they never got what they invested in a first rounder, not to mention that it cost this young man his entire career.

  • Marcus

    John,

    I am with you. I feel you. He robbed the team and the fans. I still say if you suspend him 30 games for doing such, then that is your penalty. If there is not enough information — such as you don’t know if he will ever be the same — then you need to hold off on ANY punishment until you are ready to decide.
    While what you are saying is true, it still doesn’t justify getting two penalties when the CBA calls for one.
    I just ask you this. Say Monta serves his 30 games and returns in January. Then say in October, the Warriors determine he is damaged goods and they want to terminate his contract. Would they be then terminating his contract because he violated his contract? If so, then what was the 30-game suspension for? If you’re answer is lying, then the 30-game suspension would be excessive and perhaps against the rules (can you suspend a guy for lying?). If you’re answer is for being injured and missing games, you would be in violation of the CBA, which dictates that you cannot revoke a players contract because of injury. (You used Grant Hill. Didn’t get all of his money? Yes.) So that leaves you with saying that the 30-game suspension was for violating his contract. Now you have a problem. You’re terminating his contract for that reason. So he’s paying two separate penalties for the same crime.
    How? Because if Monta isn’t suspended and the Warriors terminate his contact before year two, he should be getting $11 million of the $66 million he’s owed. But if you suspend him 30 games and terminate his contract before season two, now he’s onlt getting $8 million and not $11 million, plus “pain and suffering.”

  • Marcus

    Sorry John. That last post was directed to goingforthemoney’s comment

  • Airplanerider

    Look, normally NBA players are protected by their contracts. In this case Monta lost all those protections when he breached his contractual agreement. He is in a limbo state for sure, but he put himself there, not the Warriors. He can no longer point to his contract and use the protections that are normally afforded to players by it since he is in violation of the terms of the contract.

    Honestly, the Warriors probably should just void his deal. There’s no way that Ellis is going to command that kind of money now that he’s destroyed his ankle. He may get a small offer from another team to show if he can still run, but if I were Monta and I was really worried about making a full recovery (which it appears that he is), I would pipe down and pray the Warriors do not void. Heck, they are going to start paying him those fat paychecks in a few months anyway (for doing nothing but rehabbing).

    This whole thing just makes Monta look bad.

  • Ewok

    Jon,

    Relax if you can. If you can’t, oh well.. Discussion are discussions and no one, including you has the full monopoly of ideas. I really doubt it.

    Let me quote you again!

    “You’re completely dense and missing the point.”

    That’s quite a judgement and if you want to discuss and promote your point, you don’t come with a statement like this. That’s just an advise.

    Because!

    You don’t advertise your logic by naming people with labels like this. “Dense” “Missing the point!”

    Look Who’s talking Part III.

    Behind Anger is usually insecurity.

    It was you who implied there’s no potential for richness in Basketball.

    It was you who suggested for all concerned to “Wait” Wait for more punishment?

    Is that logical or Illogical? You answer!

    Like I said, It can always be negotiated at any point at present or during the rehabilitation, a compromise between the two parties.

    A solution that will be fair for both sides. If it can be done closed doors and away from the media, then so much the better.

    If Monta is no longer the way he is, a voiding of the contract isnt necessary but a new round of negotiations to effect changes agreeable to both parties would be much a better alternative in the spirit of compromise and negotiation.

    In other words a cut in his pay until he becomes the same player again. Monta would surely understand this. He violated a rule.

    But Voiding a Contract is giving the management a righ to kick him out of the organization when they deem so. What if there’s a new in town which caught the eye of this organization? How is Monta protected here?

    Fair or Unfair? You answer.

    But since this whole fiasco was brought out in the media and the general public, I have to reserve my doubts about the sincerity of this organization to move on and achieve brighter things.

    The Main thing here is Monta is not on sick leave.

    He is suspended from work without pay for thirty games. Whether he deserves it or not is not the point. He erred. There’s a consequence and he is Man enough not face it.

    But the point here is where do we draw the line where we can say he has finally paid for his error. (Note. I did not use the word punishment. Not a good business word).

    Suspended, Penalized, Fined, etc. Don’t this equate to punishment somehow. Hmmm.. No because according to you Jon, this is business not crime.

    So Donaghy’s action is not criminal? Just asking.

    But who is accusing someone a criminal here? Im not! My point here is Violations are violations and there’s a corresponding consequence and Monta is facing the consequence of his action. But up to what point where he can fully say he has fully paid his punishment?, Ooops I mean fine?, oops, I mean penalty?

    Speaking of violations, is is “lawful” to “penalize” a person twice? Business wise, Jon seems to justify it.

    But Ethics and CBA wise, I strongly doubt it.

    The organization gambled on a twenty one year old. They should be Men enough to face their share of consequences too.

    Jon, I never declared the Warriors have already voided the contract. Read my take. I really don’t know where you got that from.

    Perhaps its clear who is the person who can’t make the distinction of the current events of this issue.

    Once again, I completely agree with Marcus.

  • Ewok

    Jon,

    If i missed the point, You missed the bus. Just kidding. Relax.

  • Jon

    Ewack,

    In Sprewell’s arbitration decision, the arbitrator expressly found that dual punishments (by the Warriors and the NBA in sequence) were not per se forbidden by the CBA. Rather, he found that the Warriors’ specific punishment of voiding the deal was unreasonable because of the ambiguity of the “moral turpitude” clause.

    Therefore legally, i see no problem with “dual punishment”, as you inaccurately characterize the Warriors’ action.

    Furthermore, while giving Ellis (or any player) is a “gamble” in the loose sense of the word you use, their “gamble” was not an unlimited one. A contract is a mutual agreement; as the Warriors agreed to pay Ellis, Ellis agreed to act in accordance with the Uniform Player Contract.

    Given that Ellis not only breached, but also lied to cover up the “accident”, how unreasonable is it for the Warriors to demand additional time to determine the full extent of the appropriate response. How can you make a decision without any information?

    The Warriors have some information now – Ellis is out for 3 months minimum. They acted based on that information. If you want a non-legal reason, then as a PR move, they had to act to show that they weren’t going to let this go.

    The Warriors might gain new information later – that Ellis is either diminished significantly, or completely unable to play. They want to reserve the POSSIBILITY of acting later on. Again, how unreasonable is that?

    The first person to bring up the “criminal” and “punishment” context was Marcus when he first introduced the “double jeopardy” argument.

    Whether you agree with the Warriors actions “ethically” is entirely subjective, so I leave you to your own musings. This situation, however, is not governed by ethics for that very reason. Ethics are subjective. Rules, law, contracts are intended to be objective.

    We live in a society of law, basketball is a business governed by contracts and rules. Your self-righteous dismissal of any reasoned analysis is therefore entertaining in a laughable sense, but completely irrelevant.

    I love the reference to “pain and suffering” – a term applicable to civil law and an element thats utterly arbitrary at the will or folly of the jury.

  • Ewok

    Joni,

    Why are you trying to sound like a lawyer when you are not?

    If you are… Good Lord!

    Sprewell case had a dual consequence because not only he offended the organization, he offended the the league. The Warriors punished him, the League had to act accordingly as well…

    And…

    There is a World of Difference between violating a contract and lying out of panic and physically assaulting an individual. Oh my!

    True a contract is a mutual agreement between two parties. In this case, an agreement between a billion dollar organization and a twenty one year old. Try not to circumvent this with your rhetorics but circumvent it with logic.

    You dont want to use the word “Punished”, but look at the comments of sports columnists,

    Monta may have violated a rule or two. He also, by his confession lied about his case.

    But that doesnt mean his career doesnt deserve to be protected.

    It doesnt mean he deserves to penalized with in an open-ended manner where you don’t know the finality, It doesn’t mean he should be punished with a double-edged sword.

    Everyone should be equal under the law.

    Here’s a scenario,

    A promising new kid in town shows up and the organization takes a good interest on him. Monta’s contract in under a cloud of being voided or not because of this incidents, Which is more convenient for the Warriors at this point?

    Lastly, if you find my takes laughable, Why are you snapping. Do you find Marcus takes laughable too.

    A word of advice, Laughter is not always a sign of intelligence. It could be also ignorance.

  • Ewok

    Jon,

    If you dont mind, I will now call you the “Red Snapper” Just kidding.

  • Ewok

    Jon aka Red Snapper,

    Let me quote you.

    “How can you make a decision without any information?”

    Exactly! (30 game suspension w/o pay)

    I think you should address that to Rowell.