“We are puzzled with Judge Daniels’ ruling because the Collective Bargaining Agreement states that an appeal of a suspension for ‘conduct on the playing court’ may be made only to the Commissioner, not to an arbitrator, and Jermaine O’Neal’s actions took place entirely on the playing court.”
O'Neal Cleared to Play; Another Court Date Pending
“While we disagree with the court’s decision today and expect that ultimately Judge Daniels will find that the arbitrator had no authority in this matter, we will, of course, abide by the ruling of the court,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik. “Since Jermaine O’Neal has already served 15 games of his suspension, he will be eligible to participate in the Pacers’ games, at least until the next court hearing date set for December 30.”
Arbitrator Upholds Suspensions of Three Players; Reduces O’Neal Suspension
Arbitrator Roger Kaplan issued a decision denying a challenge filed by the NBA Players Association to the NBA’s recent suspensions of Indiana’s Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson and Anthony Johnson and ruled that the 25-game suspension imposed on Jermaine O'Neal should be shortened to 15 games.
NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik issued the following statement: “The operative language of our collective bargaining agreement provides that any dispute involving a suspension imposed upon a player ‘for conduct on the playing court’ may be appealed only to the Commissioner and not to an arbitrator. As a result, we have consistently maintained that the arbitrator has no legitimate role in this matter. While we obviously agree with Mr. Kaplan’s decision upholding virtually all of the suspensions, we don’t agree with his conclusion that the conduct did not occur on the playing court, and we have no choice other than to challenge it in federal court.”
NBA Statement on Charges Filed by Oakland County (Michigan) Prosecutors Office:
NEW YORK, Dec. 8 -- NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik issued the following statement today:
“We have cooperated fully with the Auburn Hills Police and Oakland County Prosecutors Office investigations. We do not contemplate any additional player discipline and will not be commenting further at this time."
Video of Pacers coach Rick Carlisle and players Austin Croshere and Reggie Miller meeting with the press (300k |
Video of Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh and Pacers president Larry Bird meeting with the press (300k |
Audio | Transcript)
Commissioner David Stern meets with the press at Madison Square Garden and announces the suspensions of nine players, with Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O'Neal and Ben Wallace receiving the longest suspensions
Video of David Stern's news conference in New York (300k)