Kelly Dwyer

Stephen Jackson is fined after being spied upon

Kelly Dwyer
Ball Don't Lie

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On Friday night, an upset Stephen Jackson(notes) lashed out at the refs, and was fined $50,000 for his outburst. Exactly the sort of information you're not entirely shocked to read, no?

Read on (from AP):

A defiant Jackson called the punishment undeserved and is considering an appeal.

"Everybody should be shocked-$50,000?" Jackson said. "If you all saw what happened, $50,000, that's a lot of money. But welcome to the life of Stephen Jackson."

Jackson was hit with a technical foul by referee Steve Javie late in the third quarter Friday, complaining he was fouled on a made basket. The fine was for his actions after the Pistons finished off a 97-90 victory.

"After the game, he made inappropriate comments towards the game officials," NBA spokesman Tim Frank said, declining to give further details.

Jackson, though, said officials were "reading his lips," an account seconded by Charlotte coach Larry Brown.

"I walked off the court upset about the outcome of the game," Jackson said. "I guess they had a camera following me all the way to the tunnel and I wasn't even in sight of the referees and read my lips. I guess I can't talk to myself. I got fined for talking to myself."

The penalty comes as the NBA is cracking down on demonstrative actions by players -- with Jackson providing an example of what the league wants changed.

This is just beyond belief, at this point.

First off, complaining about your job behind your job's figurative back is about as American as pushing your car a few hundred miles beyond the point where it needs an oil change, or locking your car doors on your way to get an oil change should a bum with a cardboard sign approach your car while you wait at a red light. It's our American birthright, and Stephen Jackson is well within his rights to whine and moan about the people that he perceives to have done him wrong.

And to have the NBA employing lip readers, to possibly watch his musings postgame, as he heads to the locker room? With no ref in ear shot? Absolutely ridiculous.

Now, the NBA contends that it has video proof of Jackson going off on the refs as he walked toward the locker room, and while I don't doubt that S-Jax was seething, and yelling, if the refs are nowhere near, what's the point? Who is being hurt by that? And where and how is Jackson hurting the sanctity of the game?

(A game, by the way, you allow to be interrupted by unending TV timeouts, loud music during actual game play, and all manner of canned noise and chants.)

I have no doubt the NBA has the results of all sorts of offseason studies in place, expensive studies, that tell you that NBA "fans" (that really don't watch nor follow the game at all) don't like these big mean men complaining after every call. I'm sure Red State Jed colored in all the boxes well enough to spur David Stern into pushing for this kind of "action."

But what is a fine like this doing to change the league, for the better? You're telling me the sanctity of the game was threatened because Stephen Jackson was possibly caught on a local basic-cable sports channel on a Friday night complaining silently about the refs?

It's an insult, to all involved. And in a league that continues to blow incessant whistles any time someone lets out a yelp after any contact that the yelp'ee slides into, while rewarding flop after flop after flop, it's a pathetic exercise worth getting upset about.

If I had 50,000 Twitter followers, I'd ask all of them to send a dollar to pay for Jackson's fine. I don't have nearly as many, so I guess I'll just have to ask the NBA to read my lips.

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