Earlier Friday, BDL's Dan Devine noted that Miami Heat All-Star Dwyane Wade has been suspended one game for kicking Charlotte Bobcats point guard Ramon Sessions in the groin. The punishment surprised very few NBA observers — the league has made it very clear that they dislike violence of that degree, whether the action was intentional or not.
The Miami Heat, however, are not happy. In fact, they issued a statement in disagreement with the fine, stating that Wade is actually a very nice boy and the real victim in most NBA games. From Brian Windhorst for ESPN.com:
The Heat said they disagreed with the suspension and further complained about how their players have been being treated by opposing teams recently. Wade, the Heat said, is one of the players the opposition "takes privileges with." They said they had "made their feelings known to the league office."
The Heat referred to Wade's 10-year record as being "an exemplary player and positive influence" in their dispute of the ruling. The league does not typically explain disciplinary decisions but has reviewed several Wade fouls and actions over the last few seasons without taking further action.
Wade, who will serve his suspension Friday against the Detroit Pistons, said the kick to Sessions was inadvertent.
So, in short, not only does Wade's reputation suggest he would never kick a player in the groin — which happened, even if it was an involuntary reaction — but he's targeted by opponents and gets treated unfairly on a regular basis. Justice has not been served!
This statement seems like a lot of trouble to go through for a suspension that will keep Wade out of a game the Heat should be able to win regardless, but there's clearly some kind of ulterior motive here. While Miami has accepted this particular decision — they're not appealing it — the team also seems to want to ensure Wade gets treated fairly in the future. Never mind that this supposedly fair treatment involves ignoring the growing feeling that Wade blurs the line between competitive and dirty on a regular basis. Plus, this statement certainly isn't going to change the still popular opinion that the Heat stars are a bit petulant.
Oh, and there's one pretty convincing argument against any claims that the Heat aren't treated fairly by officials: LeBron James wasn't called for a foul for more than two weeks, which is pretty much impossible for an NBA player to do. No matter how much the Heat complain, it's going to be tough to feel too badly for them.