March 04, 2002

On Being a Punching Bag: The new NBA guidelines for not fighting

In light of the recent confusion and controversy over the suspension of Reggie Miller, the NBA would like to clarify its stance on fighting. We expect the following from players that are on the receiving side of a swinging fist: 1. Take the punch with humble gratitude. We are aware that punches from NBA players often miss by a good two feet, but if a player swings in your direction we expect you to smile and receive the punch with gladness. If the player should happen to miss, you should remain where you are and let him try again. Grabbing the attacking player will not be tolerated. Raising your hands to protect your face is also discouraged. The fact is, if a player is swinging at your face, we blame you for provoking him (especially if the player happens to be a rising star, i.e., Kobe). For clarification, see article 6.66, "date rape and the guilty seductress." 2. Run and scream. If you do not want to take the punch, run in the other direction with your hands up in the air and scream "help" as loud as you can. This will let us know that you do not wish to fight. At no time should you stop running or screaming. Such action will be considered a provocation. Run and scream until the attacking players ceases his pursuit or until you find an NBA official that you can hide behind. 3. Cry like a baby. This is merely a suggestion. We believe that you should do your part to prevent hostile activity. Studies have shown that crying like a baby will often appease the wrath of an NBA player. 4. Pee in your pants. See above (#3). Studies have shown that peeing in your pants will not only appease the wrath of an NBA player but will often make him laugh out loud. We consider turning anger into laughter a good thing in the NBA. In this light, we openly prefer #4 to #3. 5. Faint. We find this to be very effective. If you see a fist coming your way, fall to the ground with your eyes closed. If the attacking player jumps on top of you, continue to act like you are unconscious until he stops and leaves you alone. Any indication that you are not unconscious will negate your attempt at peace and make you guilty of provocation. We apologize if our stance has not been clear in the past. We are certain that you will comply to these new guidelines. The NBA is unlike other professional sports in regard to fighting. We believe in emasculation. We believe that players should not stand up for themselves or their teammates. While we have effectively dealt with the latter (daring bench players to leave the sidelines), we have not yet squelched the presumptious display of self-respect and self-defense. We hope that you will work with us to make this a reality. Yours for a safer NBA, David Stern

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