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The NBA’s Domestic Violence Crisis

The NBA’s Domestic Violence Crisis

In what barely qualifies as news anymore, Michael Beasley has been cut loose from the Phoenix Suns. He is now looking to join his third team in as many years. Unsurprising as this may be, the reason for his dismissal should come as a massive shock. It wasn’t because of his multiple driving violations, in which he was found with a suspended license and loaded gun, nor was it because of the fact that back in May, Beasley allegedly perpetrated a sexual assault, the investigation of which is ongoing. No, Beasley was released because of a marijuana arrest. For driving with intent to drive-thru.

To be fair, the league does have a serious addiction to marijuana. But frankly, it pales in comparison to the rash of domestic abuse charges leveled against its players, which have reached endemic proportions and cast a grim shadow over the league. In just the past week, DeAndre Liggins, Royce White and Jared Sullinger have all been accused of perpetrating acts of domestic violence (the allegations against DeAndre Liggins are particularly disturbing). But perhaps the worst part is that none of them have received a punishment from their team or the league. They must be thanking their lucky stars they weren’t caught rolling a blunt.

This isn’t the first instance of the NBA looking the other way on domestic violence. Back in 2001, Jason Kidd was arrested for striking his wife during a heated argument. In a 911 call, Joumana Kidd told a dispatcher that this behavior was far from an isolated incident, and was in fact “minor compared to what I usually go through.”

The league clearly has a short memory, because in 2012, Jason Kidd was awarded the NBA Sportsmanship Award, given annually to the player who demonstrates “ethical behavior, fair play and integrity.” If you thought that was bad, how about the fact that he was arrested for a DWI just three months later, only to win ANOTHER Sportsmanship Award at the end of 2013. It’s bad enough the league refuses to punish these actions, but to reward it? That’s another level entirely.

Domestic violence is unacceptable. Plain and simple. The league’s response (or lack thereof) over the past week suggests a passive indifference that is absolutely mind boggling. If you can get fined for talking prematurely about Dwight Howard, or flopping during a game of basketball, then there sure as hell should be consequences for engaging in such heinous, cowardly acts. It’s time for the NBA to stop turning a blind eye and take concrete action.