A few high-profile sports figures are digging deep into their pocketbooks this week, having to pay the piper for not playing by the rules. The men in debt are not exactly strapped for cash but no matter how you slice it, nobody wants to cough up a check they don’t have to.
The first unlucky fellow to pay the man is Mark Cuban, although calling Mark Cuban unlucky is like calling Joe Biden young and spry.
When Cuban signed off on an 11th hour trade to bring Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavericks, hoop heads took notice. Everyone is obviously familiar with the baggage Mr. Irving brings to a locker room, but we’d also wondered what kind of star might peacefully coexist with Dallas’s other star, Luca Doncic.
A non-ball dominant point guard like Kyrie might just do the trick.
It didn’t work out as well as they had hoped. In fact, the outcome was downright abysmal. With the playoffs still in sight but their team getting significantly worse, rumors surfaced about the Mavericks benching their two superstars prior to the team being eliminated.
Why, we all wondered, would you go through the trouble of signing Kyrie Irving for a playoff run only to not have him play?
Well, Cuban benched them anyway and the league took notice.
The Mavericks missing the playoffs ensured Dallas better draft position and a ping pong ball’s chance of a top draft pick, a chance that making the playoffs would not have given them. The league has done it’s best to ensure teams no longer lose games intentionally, but Cuban stretched open that loophole. Accordingly, he was fined $750,000. Executive Vice President of NBA Operations Joe Dumars said Dallas’ decision to bench both Kyrie and Luca “undermined the integrity of the sport.”
Three quarters of a million dollars is nothing to sneeze at, even for one of the country’s richest men, unless Dallas’ lottery pick turns out to be someone Cuban has his eyes on, like the number one overall pick. If Dallas miraculously lands that top pick, Cuban’s fine will be more than worth it, even if it sullied his reputation with the commissioner’s office. I’m not sure three quarters of a million dollars is worth gambling on a three percent chance but apparently, the brash Mavs owner wasn’t afraid of paying the fine he knew was coming his way. And if, by the slimmest of chances, Dallas nabs that magical ping pong ball granting them the number one pick, the NBA will have a coup on its hand and will have to go back to the drawing board with regards to its anti-tanking policy.
Cuban wasn’t the only figurehead writing checks this week. The PGA Tour came down hard on one of its most popular and prominent players for absenteeism, a seemingly less heinous crime than throwing basketball games.
Ever since LIV stole premium PGA talent by promising money the Tour could not provide, Rory McIlroy became the de facto defender of the old school. He embraced that role with pride.
What did he get for his troubles? How about a fine of $3 million dollars for skipping this weekend’s PGA Tour event. The NBA might consider taking a page out of the PGA Tour’s playbook when it comes to punishing players for truancy.
Rory withdrew from the Heritage Classic, which is one of 12 designated PGA Tour stops all golfers must attend. Golfers are allowed to miss one of those 12 annual events. This weekend’s withdrawal was McIlroy’s second absence, hence the fine.
Now Rory understands why so many golfers left the PGA for greener, LIVelier pastures.
Rory tallied $40 million in tour earnings last year, but the last two years has only made $5.5 and $8.5 mil respectively. This year, he’s only earned three million, so a fine of that magnitude probably smarts. If my employer robbed me of my annual salary for a no call no show, I wouldn’t be all that pleased, not to mention the Tour did this to the player who’s been its most adamant supporter. If I’m Greg Norman, I’m picking up the phone, offering to pay Rory’s fine and a heck of a lot more than that to bring him to the Middle East.
I’m not defending these guys, they both broke rules they knew existed, although I do find it ironic that two men that have vehemently supported their leagues over the past few years are being levied substantial fines for breaking the rules set by those leagues. Four million dollars is no drop in the bucket, even for those two. Yet pay they must.
Finally, one more fined figurehead, Daniel Snyder, who was forced to cough up ten million dollars two years ago for fostering a workplace that was considered “highly unprofessional” for women, is selling off his most prized asset: the Washington Commanders. The good folks in the District of Columbia will be hosting several goodbye parties in his honor.
The agreed upon price for the NFL franchise is somewhere near $6 billion, which means the diminutive Snyder will never have another financial worry again. Meanwhile, Washington football fans everywhere are rejoicing that the emperor has been stripped of his membership to ownership’s illuminati.
From everything I’ve read, that’s perfectly fine with them.
I will be glad to contribute towards these fine but unfortunate men’s go fund me account. I believe in helping those in need. Sad.
Appears the post was a tad premature as we also had Draymond Green suspended for Game Three of that series, James Harden tossed for a wrist to the groin and Joel Embiid getting off scot-free.
Pays to be the MVP.