If you haven’t seen it already, the Miami Heat and the Minnesota Timberwolves got into a little scuffle Monday night. J.J. Barea and Ray Allen started getting physical early on in the 4th quarter. Ray Allen had the ball and gave Barea a little incidental elbow out on the perimeter. Then, as Allen drove toward the basket, J.J. Barea gave Allen a little bump that knocked him to the floor. Allen hopped up immediately enraged over the foul. Both teams quickly met face to face where the incident took place, but all players involved were separated without it escalating any further. As a result of the play, J.J. Barea was given a Flagrant-2 foul and was ejected from the game. You need to see the play with your own two eyes to understand just how ridiculous the flagrant foul and subsequent ejection was. If you want to check out a video of the play then click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUtYCXPW9fM First of all, J.J. Barea is about 5’8″ and 160 pounds soaking wet (I don’t want to hear anything about the 6’0″ and 175 pounds that he’s listed at). On a little side-note, I saw Barea play live in a college game once back in ’04-’05. He played at Northeastern, and they were visiting my school; Umass. When the game was over I walked past him as he was on his way to the locker room, and trust me he is not 6’0″ tall (I was towering over him and I’m only 5’11”). Same goes with Allen Iverson, I stood next to him at a Knicks game once and was eye to eye with him. I digress. The fact of the matter is that J.J. Barea couldn’t toss Ray Allen and get a deserving Flagrant-2 foul if his life depended on it. Ray Allen should have gotten up, dusted himself off, and walked to the free throw line like a man. That would have been the end of it, and at most he could have whispered something to Barea next time they found themselves next to each other on the free throw line (something like, “try that again, and I’ll step on you little guy”). Instead he got all flustered and created something out of nothing. And that is the problem I have with today’s NBA. Today’s NBA is soft. Back in the day guys got knocked down way harder than that little bump Barea gave Allen. Just ask Michael Jordan how hard the Pistons used to hit him in the ’80’s and ’90’s. NBA players used to be as scared to drive to the basket as a wide receiver is coming across the middle of the field. Unfortunately, that type of NBA has come and gone. I understand that in this era everyone is more involved in player safety, and I’m okay with that. I don’t want players getting injured unnecessarily, but we need to stop babying these players. Flagrant fouls should be reserved for clearly intentional fouls that endanger the safety of a player. You can’t watch that Flagrant Foul from Monday night and tell me that Ray Allen’s body was ever in danger. That’s all I’m saying! If you have something to say about the issue of flagrant fouls in the NBA, please leave me a comment or question. Thank you.
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If you want to see what a real flagrant foul looks like then check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dabt_Kb2UmQ