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Andrew Bynum's flagrant on Gerald Wallace: Suspension coming?

If you missed it, here's the vid, and the call from the Lakers' broadcast team. Andrew Bynum literally Andrew_bynum_fouls_gerald_wallace sent Charlotte's Gerald Wallace to the hospital Tuesday night with a violent flagrant foul in the fourth quarter of LA's 117-110 double OT loss to the Bobcats at Staples. Writes the Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell:

"After 21 years of covering the NBA, I think I know the difference between rugged and dirty.

What Andrew Bynum did to Gerald Wallace Tuesday was dirty.

Bynum, a gigantic athlete for the Los Angeles Lakers, threw a blatant elbw and hip-check to keep Wallace from reaching the basket in the fourth quarter. I get it that every play in that quarter mattered ā€“ it did go to overtime, after all ā€“ but there were many things Bynum could have done to avert Wallace dunking. Most of them would not have involved Wallace going to the hospital.

Hopefully, this was about youthful indiscretion, not malicious intent. Because as talented as Bynum is, Iā€™d hate to think his destiny is to end up a hockey goon."

After the game, Bynum said he was late with his rotation and wasn't trying to hurt Wallace, and I believe him.  Unfortunately, that's not really the point. Serious damage was done on what was clearly a dangerous play. Which leads to two questions: Should Bynum be subject to disciplinary action from the league, and should the fact that Wallace was injured- he's in the hospital with a punctured lung and a broken rib- influence the outcome?

I had this debate for a few minutes after the game with AK and a couple other members of the media- given the late finish, nobody had too much time for chatter- and came down on the side of "yes" to both questions, especially after seeing the replay a few more times.

Like I said, I don't think it was Bynum's intent to injure anyone, but his play was very dangerous. A hip check combined with a elbow to the chest on a player in the air. There was no effort at all to play the ball. When I played hockey growing up, as a defenseman I used that move all the time on forwards rushing the net who had a step... and it wasn't legal there, either.  If the league decided that was worth a game on the sidelines, honestly, I wouldn't argue.  (There are probably fouls out there that are equally worthy that won't bring a suspension, but I'm not writing about consistency from the disciplinary wing of NBA HQ, just whether or not Bynum's foul seems bad enough to warrant some sort of action. "What about ______?!?!?!" may be a good discussion, but it's a different argument that can be played endlessly and distracts from the basic question of the individual play.)

As to the second point, should the resulting injury play into any decision?  I I think so.  If a guy gets hurt on a dangerous, reckless play that goes beyond the scope of normal action, then yes, the severity of injury can be a factor. If I run a stop sign, it's reckless and I can get a ticket, even if I didn't mean any harm, or I didn't see the posting. If I run it and injure someone, that penalty is more severe.  If I kill someone, the penalty goes up even more.  That I didn't mean harm doesn't make my actions any less dangerous.  Of course, if a player commits a flagrant foul that doesn't result in injury but is still equally violent, that shouldn't exclude the fouler from discipline, either. 

Look, I won't be dialing up Stu Jackson and calling for action. I doubt they'd pick up for me, anyway. But if the league hands Bynum a (reasonable) suspension, I won't argue the point. If that had happened to Kobe coming down the lane, Laker fans would be screaming for blood. 

Either way, we're likely to know relatively quickly, since the league tends to act fast in situations like this one.


Comments () | Archives (39)

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BK I agree,
If that had happened to Kobe LA fans would be screaming bloody murder. It doesn't matter Bynum's intent, a player was seriously hurt and sent to the hospital. I still feel there is a chance he might get 2 games. If the league does not suspend him what does that say to the other players.

He should get a 10 game suspension. That's just something I do not want my kids to see in a professional game.

I disagree. It was not a dirty play, rather just a hard foul. You are simply looking the result, and not intent which is wrong. Remember when Kobe was suspended for the flailing arm on Manu? Ginobili went down in a heap on national TV, and that alerted Stu Jackson to suspend Kobe for it, even though Kobe had no idea Manu was even in the vicinity (Bowen and Manu switched the last second).

Bynum could get fined, but this in no way warrants a suspension. I feel bad Wallace got hurt, but Bynums intent was not to injure him, just stop an easy basket.


First of all, fantastic handle!

As to your larger point, I'm not simply basing it on the result, but I don't think intent matters, at least in the sense that it should prevent disciplinary action. Obvious intent to injure should make any penalty worse, but lack of it shouldn't absolve the offender. If a play is dangerous, it's dangerous, whether intentional or not, and can't be part of the game.

It's too hard to judge intent.


Stick to bass fishing, Brian Kamenetzky. You have no business writing about basketball.

Andrew could have moved into position to wrap up Gerald Wallace, but instead positioned himself to make a play for the ball. Wallace is one of the fastest players in the NBA to elevate, which is why he is frequently injured (his nickname is "Crash", please remember that for future reference). Once Wallace was in the air and the ball out of reach, Bynum was exposed.

Look carefully at the replay. Bynum's elbow isn't at an angle to cause injury, nor is it rigid. Hip check? Definitely, but that is normal when defending the basket when you're out of position. All basketball coaches teach you to do this.

Last, look at how Gerald lands. He falls hard on his elbow, which is likely what caused the broken rib. Gerald is an amazing athlete, but has a long history of concussions. He loses control during his takeoffs.

Seriously... your blog is a disappointment.

With all due respect to the Charoltte reporter, that is simply ridiculous. The intent (calling it "dirty") should not be based on the injury suffered. Would Adam Morrison's flagrant foul on Pau Gasol (no attempt at the ball; shot to the head) have been more dirty if Pau ended up with a concussion like Trevor Ariza? Morrison committed a flagrant foul. He did not make a dirty play, and had Pau ended up with a scratched cornea or other injury it would not make Morrison any dirtier. Same goes for Drew.

It was a tough foul, and it was a flagrant foul, but it was no more "dirty" than any time a player seeks to prevent another from scoring and doesn't play the ball. It is a shame that Wallace suffered that injury, but if he'd been wearing a flak jacket as many modern players do, he might have popped right back up. Had he done so, Andrew's foul would have been no less flagrant.

Frankly, the larger question is when the hell are the Lakers going to abandon this matador defense that lets every perimeter player in the league go right past our guards and right into the teeth of the defense...?

Bynum will get suspended, and he'll probably get two games. Is it me, or does it always seem like the league reviews a lot of stuff against the Lakers but never reviews anything done TO the Lakers. The league essentially apologized, after the fact, for that infamous no-call last year between Derek Fisher and Brent Barry. But where was the mea culpa when Ariza got called for traveling after Ginobili tripped him? Then, of course, Kobe got suspended after the fact for the "three-point arm" that hit Ginobili in the face during a Spurs game.

I still remember the vicious Scottie Pippen elbow to the back of John Salley's head during the playoffs in 2000, and Rod Thorn ended up fining Pippen $10,000. Fined. No suspension. And they were definitely suspending people even back in 2000 for such activities.

Can anybody here remember a single time when the league ruled IN FAVOR of the Lakers? I mean, besides a measly fine?

Doesn't matter if they suspend him or not.

Were still stuck with Phillip as a coach.


If that is a suspension, then every time someone steps on someones foot and causes a major knee injury he should be suspended. It's a very unfortunate ACCIDENT and therefore should not warrant a suspension.

I personally don't want Bynum to get suspended and I feel he shouldn't with the idea on the intent. BUT Stu Jackson did hand Kobe TWO suspensions on hitting Manu first on flailing his arm and then Marko which did hurt but wasn't as serious as Bynum's flagrant foul. Heck it's not even as serious as the Flagrant Foul that Kobe got back in 2005-2006 when he elbowed Mike Miller in the face and got a 2 game suspension.

This is a no win situation whatsoever. If Bynum is suspended, it really sucks and HOPEFULLY the league won't be too hard on Bynum (a short suspension hopefully). But if they don't suspend him it's great but only reinforces the point back in 2006-2007 that the league was so biased against Kobe Bryant for less serious infractions than this one.

I don't want him to be suspended but if the league does, hopefully it won't be too long.



I get your analogy, but the reason you get in more trouble for injuring someone after you run the stop light is because thats another infraction. You'd be breaking 2 laws, not just one. Andrew only commits 1 infraction which was fouling Wallace, so I don't think thats a good way to judge Andrew's foul.

The way I see it Andrew didnt even hit him with his forearm, he hit him with the back of his bicept. That only means that the floor is what caused the damage. So really, all Andrew did was knock him off balance, which happends all the time, sometimes with it only being called a personal foul. Was it a flagrant? Yes, cuz he didn't go for the ball. Is it suspension or fine worthy, in my opinion, NO WAY.


"If that is a suspension, then every time someone steps on someones foot and causes a major knee injury he should be suspended. It's a very unfortunate ACCIDENT and therefore should not warrant a suspension."

Zen, c'mon bow. That example very obviously is a reach. When a guy comes down on someone else's foot, it's completely out of their control. You'd essentially be holding them accountable for not being able to withstand gravity's pull. Bynum, however, had complete control over his actions and physicality and made a bad decision. This is apples and something not even a food group.

I do agree (and disagree with BK) with you that Wallace's injury shouldn't play a role in determining if a suspension is in order. But along those same lines, had Wallace not have gotten hurt, Bynum's act itself remains the same.


My sympathies and best wishes are with Gerald Wallace.May he recover quickly.

It seems clear to me that Bynum simply panicked and rushed through to try to get in Wallaces way... the guy was coming straight into the paint. Bynum is told repeatedly DO NOT ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN YOUR TEAM IS CONSIDERED SOFT AND ITS ON YOU TO CHANGE THAT.He unfortunately could only get there in a very awkward way and wallace was racing.You can actually see from Bynums immediate reaction that he did not intend to hurt him or even foul him hard.He simply got caught up in something he didnt mean to by having to extend his arm at a certain angle.The commentator takes it WAY to far in my opinion.This wa simply an unfortunate set of circumstances combining.

Reckless and irresponsible .....YES

A suspension necessary?......DEFINITELY

.dirty and malicious? .................NO

Miguel Colonel,

"BK, I get your analogy, but the reason you get in more trouble for injuring someone after you run the stop light is because thats another infraction. You'd be breaking 2 laws, not just one. Andrew only commits 1 infraction which was fouling Wallace, so I don't think thats a good way to judge Andrew's foul."

Exactly. That's what I was talking about in my response piece to BK's.


Bynum isn't characterized by being a "dirty" player. If he were a player given to physicality with a malicious intent, then I would definitely be holding the magnifying glass a little closer. Intent makes a huge difference, in my opinion. So in terms of a penalty, I believe Drew should be fined, and I wouldn't be opposed to a 1 game suspension, but to make it 10 games as a poster above suggested, I disagree. You have to look at the behavior Drew is characterized by, and being a dirty player isn't it. I would not be surprised, given the amount of reports we have had regarding his mellow nature and that he's "still a big kid" that his remorse over this is significant.

Too bad it had to happen to Wallace. Broken ribs and a punctured lung will put him out of commission for a while. I feel for him.

I feel for Drew too, though. The amount of crap and flak he'll get over this could be overwhelming.

Best wishes to them both.


If we can use the analogy of you running a red light or stop sign then I think that the result of the play is clearly a huge factor.

If you commit a negligent act like running a stop sign and you're caught, you don't go to jail. You simply pay your fine or attempt to prove your innocence. If you run a red light and hit a child, then the punishment and crime have changed.

I'll use the example of Shaq's foul on Rodney Stuckey from earlier this season. Shaq was ejected from that game and received a flagrant two foul. Stuckey got up to shoot his free throws. If Stuckey splits his head open on the hardwood (which he genuinely could've given the impact the big fella had on him) does Shaq get suspended? Probably. Drew committed a foul in the same manner, only did it more clumsily and the player he fouled ended up getting hurt much worse. However Drew was only assessed a flagrant one foul.

If they don't suspend Shaq for his foul, how can they suspend Drew for a similarly violent foul?

"Pig" Miller

I think you said something!! That foul by Shaq was much more violent than Bynum's and I don't believe Shaq was suspended at all.

The league could certainly suspend Bynum because it is within their powers........ but the question would be..... Is the suspension justified?

He didn't go for the head or throw an elbow or a punch. He was trying to slow him down and the lung was unfortunate. Do you think he intended to hurt?


"AK, He didn't go for the head or throw an elbow or a punch. He was trying to slow him down and the lung was unfortunate. Do you think he intended to hurt?"

No, I don't think Drew was trying to hurt Wallace at all, as I said last night in and in a rebuttal (of sorts) to BK. I otally agree that the injury was an unfortunate, unintentional result. But I also don't think Bynum was simply trying to "slow down," unless if by "slow down," you mean "stop dead in his tracks with one shot." He hip checked Wallace, jutted out his forearm to boot, and made no real effort to prevent a fall. It was without question a flagrant foul and should be treated as such. I just don't think Wallace's injury should play a role in deciding whatever should come of this. To me, they're separate, unrelated issues.


What IS the definition of a flagrant in the NBA? If the guy sits on the floor for a few minutes, does that automatically make it a flagrant?

I thought it was hitting neck and above, throwing a punch, or throwing an elbow.

Maybe if the rules are "clearer", Bynum wouldn't have done what he did. The last time I checked, a hip check is not a flagrant foul and If I remember correctly, Bynum did hold him a little to help with his fall.


I get what you're saying, and understand your point. What I was getting at- and probably didn't explain well enough- was a couple things: First, in our society, consequences of actions matter, even if someone else is "lucky" enough to get away with the same basic "crime" without the extra impact, so to speak. The "bad luck" of their situation being worse doesn't absolve the offender. Second, that the injury increases the impact of the dangerous play.

Drew's action was, in basketball terms, negligent. He shouldn't get suspended BECAUSE Wallace got hurt, but because the action that caused it was dangerous. but that Wallace got hurt can be a factor, in my mind. Where I think the league often errors, and this gets to your Shaq/Stuckey example, is by NOT enforcing discipline simply because a guy DOESN'T get hurt. That shouldn't excuse the dangerous play, whether intentional or not. Shaq could have easily been given a game for that play.

That nobody gets hurt in a situation isn't grounds for ignoring dangerous play.

And I agree with Kiwi, Bonnell's description of the play as "dirty" doesn't fly with me, because I don't think there was any intent. To me, a dirty play is one where a guy really does try to hurt someone, or at the very least doesn't care if he does. Bynum didn't do that- he got caught in space and made a dangerous (but not malicious) play. It doesn't excuse it, but it also doesn't make him a dirty player.



From the rule book:

"Section IV--Flagrant Foul
a. If contact committed against a player, with or without the ball, is interpreted to be unnecessary, a flagrant foul--penalty (1) will be assessed. A personal foul is charged to the offender and a team foul is charged to the team.
PENALTY: (1) Two free throws shall be attempted and the ball awarded to the offended team on either side of the court at the free throw line extended. (2) If the offended player is injured and unable to attempt his free throws, the opposing coach will select any player from the bench to attempt the free throws. (3) This substitute may not be replaced until the ball is legally touched by a player on the court. (EXCEPTION: Rule 3--Section V--e.) (4) The injured player may not return to the game. (5) A player will be ejected if he commits two flagrant fouls in the same game.
b. If contact committed against a player, with or without the ball, is interpret-ed to be unnecessary and excessive, a flagrant foul--penalty (2) will be assessed. A personal foul is charged to the offender and a team foul is charged to the team."

Cool. So what was the call? A flagrant 1?

yep. If it was a Flagrant 2, they'd have tossed him on the spot.


So the flagrant foul is based on "interpretation". No wonder players sit on the floor for a few minutes like they are dying just to get a flagrant call.

Im not talking about Wallace.Just on general hard fouls.

Bynum deserves the suspension because he a guy that big can't just throw himself into the middle of things, late and clumsy, and expect that being a bull in a china shop has no consequences.

He may not have intended to injure but other rules apply for your 300-lb center. If Jordan Farmar stumbles in there, who cares? Bynum has to know what is a responsible thing to do as a player. And that play was IRRESPONSIBLE, to say the least.

Edward, your post is a bit rediculous. Falling on his elbow caused a broken rib? Give me a break. come to think, that's what bynum did to Wallace. A break, indeed. I would like to see Bynum suspended for as long as Wallace isn't able to play.

I don't know why Bynum just doesn't study Shaq..He puts on some major punishment and rarely gets those calls.

Review the video. Bynum's elbow does NOT make contact, and neither does his hip. But, it's still a flagrant.


I think you missed this.

"c. Contact committed with the back of a bicep is deemed, by definition, to not be excessive. Penalties based on actions as described will be considered to have been assessed in error, and points associated with said penaties will be declared null and void."

Does that mean that they will have to replay the last part of the game?

PJ should be suspended for taking AB out of the game during the last minute of 1st OT... stupid, dumb f-ing move!

Wow...I'm a Bobcats fan and I figured that Laker fans would stick up for Bynum a bit. But some of these posts are pathetic. Bynum deserves a one-game suspension at most, because reckless and unfortunate incidents like this happen. (see Hansbrough, Tyler and Henderson, Gerald) Seeing people try to say it was the "back of a bicep" or that he had no malicious intent. That's all BS...doesn't matter. It was a dirty play from a non-dirty player. He just made a mistake. The blogger BK, myself and a few other posters are being rational about this, but most of you guys are way off base.

Bottomline is --

1) GW was coming hard/fast to the basket

2) AB was late to rotate, thus his reaction

3) GW is fragile, and yet still careless/erratic going to the hoops, thus the percentage of him getting injured

>>>Drew's action was, in basketball terms, negligent. He
>>>shouldn't get suspended BECAUSE Wallace got hurt,
>>>but because the action that caused it was dangerous.

Then just to be clear,

do you think Shaq should have been suspended for the hit on Stuckey?

do you think Morrison should be suspended for the hit to the head
on Gasol? Smacking someone on the head is generally much
more dangerous than smacking them in the chest.

lfan, maybe you should take yourself and your kids to WNBA games only. 10 games for that foul???!!! When Bell only got one game for intentionally trying to take Kobe's head off? I think that Andrew should be suspended for a game or two, but not 10.

Randy, examples of dirty plays are like when Bowen kicks someone in the jewels intentionally or standing underneath someone after that person goes up for a rebound. Bynum's foul was a HARD foul, just like the one that Morrison applied to Gasol. I don't hear you calling Morrison dirty!

"c. Contact committed with the back of a bicep is deemed, by definition, to not be excessive."

"back of bicep" makes no sense. The bicep muscle is on the anterior portion of a person's upper arm. The "back" of the bicep lies against the humerus.

Andrew's TRICEPS muscle made contact with Wallace.

So whoever wrote the NBA rules has is clueless.

I wouldn't be surprised if there is a rule that say's it's illegal to dribble the ball with the pancreas.

reading the rules to flagrant fouls that was posted here and seeing the foul i fine it hard to see that stu will suspend bynum.....specially since he didnt suspend shaq.......the kicker here is in the interpitation of the rules and the word of excessive.....the refs ruled that bynum wasnt excessive......
now wallace got hurt.....yes thats part of the wasnt intentional......its like if bynum took a charge and had his rib was intentional....the player intentionally ran into bynum......but thats part of the game.......
and if it was magic johnson doing the driving it would have been a knee or a foot bynum would have been hit with first by the way magic drove to the certain ways you defend normally or play will never change and every player does it pretty much instinctively almost like in reacting to way someone else is playing and its not going to change and sometimes somebody does get hurt because someone is bigger and/or slower to just happens......its the real risk of this game.......and thats one of the reasons why males play it.......
so wallace was just got cuaght in the risk of playing the game thankfully for him he didnt tear up his knee......because bynum didnt try to hurt him nor did he go out to use force on could have been worse if he did........thankfully for wallace it was bynum and not shaq.........

Bynum should be fined and suspended just for making a stupid mistake. So the next time he'll think twice before making a thoughtless foul like that again...

And that goes for every player, seriously they get paid a fortune and been training for years. I don't care how tight the game was Crash made the drive for a clear basket Bynum should have accepted it.

Flagrant foul?

Dirty play?

Suspension imposed?

NBA will always do what they want after the fact.

Hard fouls are hard. Players have accept that as does the media and fans.



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