Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram gave his first public comments Monday since being suspended for his role in Saturday’s on-court fight between players from the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets.
It turns out he agrees with critics who thought he got off light with a four-game ban.
Ingram ‘happy’ suspension wasn’t longer
Ingram, who instigated the altercation by shoving an unsuspecting James Harden in the back before jumping into the separate Chris Paul-Rajon Rondo fray swinging from behind, told reporters he was happy that he didn’t get a longer suspension.
“It was better than we expected,” Ingram said. “I’m happy it’s only four. I know I’ve got to control my emotions a little bit better.”
When asked what he expected from the league, he said more.
“I’m not sure,” Ingram said. “I though it would be more than four.”
Good teammate or sucker punch?
There are two schools of thought in the Ingram debate.
School A dictates that he was being a good teammate jumping into the Rondo-Paul altercation swinging to protect his fellow Lakers.
School B points out that Ingram not once, but twice physically attacked unsuspecting opponents when they weren’t looking. This school falls under the heading “sucker punch.”
Ingram apologized to his teammates but made sure to emphasize School A to justify his actions.
Ingram: I have ‘to protect my teammates’
“Apologies to my teammates for that game,” Ingram said. “I know it could have come out better. In any situation like that, I’ve got to protect my teammates.
“A hundred percent that I was wrong for my teammates. But I also stepped up for my teammates, and that’s what I’m gonna do 10 times out of 10.”
Asked why he jumped into the Rondo-Paul fight, Ingram pointed out numbers.
“I think I’d seen five Rockets players and two of our guys,” Ingram said.
Sure, there were plenty of red jerseys around Paul and Rondo. But nobody else was throwing punches until Ingram jumped in.
Rondo plays it cool
As for Rondo, he bit his tongue about the league determining that he spit at Paul despite there being little video evidence to support Paul’s accusation.
“It’s best for me not to talk about the situation,” Rondo said. “It is what it is. “You guys see I have three games. I look forward to getting back and helping my team this weekend.
“Everyone knows who I am, my team. And I think they still respect me for what I do and what I bring to this team.”
Rondo got the worst of this deal, being hit with a three-game ban after being accused of spitting at Paul, when the more likely scenario was inadvertent spittle from teammate Carmelo Anthony landing on Paul’s face.
Ingram is lucky
Ingram, meanwhile, is lucky. He’s lucky he didn’t injure anybody. He’s lucky that Harden had a cooler head than him and chose not to escalate. He’s lucky that the NBA didn’t deem his “aggressively returning to and escalating the altercation and throwing a punch in the direction of Paul” worth more than four games.
Ingram can paint the situation as standing up for his teammates. But video shows a guy losing his cool and attacking people from behind.
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