Sports Out West

Shabazz Muhammad generates polar reactions to NBA discipline

Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle | AP

Much like its counterparts across other major American professional sports leagues, the NBA takes a proactive approach toward transitioning rookies into life as NBA players.

Former UCLA Bruins super-frosh Shabazz Muhammad received NBA discipline for his actions at the league’s Rookie Transition Program, according to USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt. League officials sent him home for violating a rule which prohibits players from having unauthorized guests in their rooms during the four-day event. It’s not the first time Muhammad has had questions about his maturity. Those instances go back as far as his collegiate days in Westwood, where his often immature behavior raised concerns about his character heading into his NBA career.

Now, he will face a fine for his actions and must complete the program, which was set to end this Friday, next season. He’ll also do himself a disservice by further damaging his reputation.

Though he’s clearly wrong for violating the rules, he has some support from at least one NBA veteran. Los Angeles Clippers forward and former Bruin Matt Barnes took up for him and was critical of the NBA for its policies:

 

 

 

It’s easy to see where Barnes is coming from as a UCLA alumnus and NBA player making a living in Los Angeles. He’s going against the grain and taking up for a friend while seemingly everyone else piles on.

It’s easy for the media and everyone else to attack Muhammad for these incidents, while the other side of the story gets little attention. Barnes is making his voice heard. Still, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Muhammad violated a rule that was made very clear to everyone involved.

For that reason, the Minnesota Timberwolves don’t share Barnes’ viewpoint and think the NBA did right by dropping the hammer on their first-round pick. In a statement released by the team, the T-Wolves denounced his actions publicly:

“We have been made aware of the circumstances surrounding Shabazz Muhammad’s dismissal from the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program in New Jersey,” Timberwolves President Flip Saunders said in a statement. “The team fully supports the NBA’s rules and policies in all matters pertaining to this situation and we will abide by the league’s action.”

It’s a predicable response from the franchise’s standpoint. It’s not a surprise that they would align themselves with the NBA. Again, the rules were clear and then violated. It’s cut-and-dry.

But Barnes may have a point about the excessiveness of the penalty. The NBA is making an example of him, to be sure, and may have come down hard because of his past.

Where do you come out on this one? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle | AP

The following two tabs change content below.
Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His work is also regularly featured on Yahoo! Sports and SB Nation. You can catch up with him on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets.