“Family on three. 1-2-3, FAMILY!”
It’s a chant that almost every basketball team says when they break their huddle. It means, through thick or thin, “we’re in this together.”
But what happens when the NBA fines a player for protecting his “family?”
Last week, Houston Rockets guard Sterling Brown suffered facial lacerations after he got jumped outside of a strip club in Miami and was hit in the head with a bottle. He was later admitted to Jackson Memorial Hospital.
“Last night, Sterling Brown was the victim of an assault,” read a statement from the Rockets. “He had no prior knowledge of or interaction with the assailants. He suffered facial lacerations but will make a full recovery. Sterling is not playing tonight because of his prior knee injury.”
Brown accidentally got into the wrong vehicle as he was leaving the club, and all hell broke loose after that.
As you can see from the footage, Porter Jr. looks to be playing the role of mediator between Brown and the police officers on the scene, as one of them waves a bleeding Brown off and walks away. The police have opened an internal investigation because of the cops’ interactions with Brown and Porter Jr., which is why the audio is muted, according to reports.
Besides what’s going on in this country between law enforcement and Black America, you can understand why Brown isn’t the biggest fan of law enforcement. In 2018, a gang of police officers surrounded Brown in a Walgreens parking lot because he was in a handicapped spot. They slammed him to the ground and Tasered him. The eight officers involved in the incident got slaps on the wrists. One of them did wind up getting fired, but only because he mocked the event on social media. Last year, Brown agreed to a $750,000 settlement of his lawsuit against the Milwaukee Police Department.
So, given that the league knew all of this information, why did they still decide to fine Porter Jr. $50,000?
I couldn’t tell ya.
On one side, you have a league that has done everything it can to keep its players safe while playing in a pandemic – besides that whole All-Star Game in Atlanta situation. And the Rockets became the face of how strict the NBA’s COVID-19 rules were when Danuel House Jr. got kicked out of the bubble – missing three playoff games – because he allegedly had a “female COVID-19 testing official” in his room for hours. This makes it quite understandable why the league would make Porter Jr. pay up for being in a strip club – violating the rules against attending indoor social gatherings of 15 or more people and entering bars and similar establishments – during the season, in a pandemic (shout out Lou Williams.)
But on the other side, did the league ever ask itself “what might have happened if Porter Jr. wasn’t there to help Brown?” Especially given that he came to the aid of his teammate while suffering minor injuries, in a situation so bad that it caused Rockets head coach Stephen Silas to say that ‘”thankfully he’s (Brown) gonna be OK.”
Rules are necessary for keeping a functioning society in place. Rules were also meant to be broken, at times. And this was one of those times. Because while Sterling Brown and Kevin Porter Jr. shouldn’t have been at a Miami strip club, you can bet that everyone – from the Rockets to the league – is happy that Porter Jr. was there.
And what did he get for being a good teammate? A $50,00 fine.