NEW YORK CITY—This past Sunday, the NBA fined San Antonio Spurs forward Stephen Jackson $25,000 for a tweet that grossly violated the league’s social networking policy. Given Jackson’s history of misbehavior—from his involvement in the 2004 brawl between the Indiana Pacers and the people of Detroit, to shooting his gun in the air outside of a strip club—it seems as if Commissioner David Stern is making an example of Jackson, to demonstrate that repeated malfeasance, even in the digital space, will not be tolerated.
Stern explained his ruling by dissecting the tweet in his statement to the press:
“Everyone knows I hate it when people use the number ‘2’ in place of the adverb. And in this case, he had ample character space for the actual word, so that alone is unacceptable. Secondly, I would have forgiven Stephen’s failure to use apostrophes in ‘aint’ and ‘im’ if he hadn’t used one flawlessly while reinforcing the seriousness of his threat earlier in the message. And lastly, all of our players wear their last names on the back of their jerseys, so Stephen has absolutely no excuse for beginning Ibaka with an ‘A.’ And for a man so eager to be “goin’ in another man’s mouth,” I’d expect him to know what that other man looks like from the back, because, frankly, I don’t imagine that Stephen is a bottom.”
With this fine, NBA players have been put on notice that, as representatives of the league (even on their personal Twitter accounts), they must uphold the grammatical standards of which their athleticism absolved them ever since they could run and chew gum. On the bright side, there are probably several players in the league that breathed a sigh of relief when Stern did not admonish Jackson for how homo thuggish the tweet appeared. Whether this tweet will be a watershed moment for open sexuality in the NBA remains to be seen. But if it turns out to be so, at least it only cost 25 grand.