They should have thrown the book at Dillon Brooks for what he did to Donovan Mitchell on Thursday night, and they should have aimed low.
An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth. An onion for an onion.
What in the name of all that is sacred and precious and vulnerable was thaaaaat?
It was a low blow, that’s what. A dirty play. A harm and a foul.
There are some things a man, no matter how worked up he might be in the heat of competition, should never, ever, never, ever do.
And Brooks did it.
He broke the rule. The universal rule, whether it’s written or not, one that everybody knows, everybody counts on — that you do not nail an opponent in the nether region.
In the course of an NBA game, or any game in any sport for that matter, there are times when an athlete makes moves — some beautiful, some ballet-like — that expose him to … how should we say this? … great liability.
If you haven’t seen the video of the “play,” during the Grizzlies-Cavs game, watch it and decide for yourself what you think of it. It’s all over social media.
With Brooks on the floor under the basket, and Mitchell going for a suddenly loose ball, Brooks swung his arm and fist up, taking a crack at Mitchell right in his downtown area, causing the Cavs guard to tumble to the court. As he fell, Mitchell threw the ball at Brooks, then jumped up and confronted him, shoving him, igniting more pushing and woofing among other players.
Mitchell was fortunate he could even breathe.
Brooks was ejected. Mitchell was ejected.
“That’s just who he is,” said Mitchell. “We’ve seen it a bunch in this league with him. Him and I have had our personal battles for years. There’s no place for that in the game. This has been brewing for years with me and other guys in the league. You all see it. This isn’t new.”
Jazz fans will recall Mitchell’s battles with Brooks and Memphis in the playoffs.
“Quite frankly, I’ve been busting his a-- for years,” Mitchell said.
The NBA on Friday announced it would suspend Brooks for a single game.
If justice had been served, Brooks would’ve been given the heave-ho from the NBA for a good number of games, suspended without pay. Sent to his room to think about his deed done dirty.
Talk about a blow with bad intentions.
This isn’t a case of, say, an inconsequential grabbing of the face mask during a tackle or incidental contact on the court. It was a deliberate attempt by Brooks to do damage to Mitchell that was wholly uncalled for.
It happens. But it shouldn’t. Ask any football and rugby player who’s found himself at the bottom of a pile and he’ll tell you about some nasty extracurriculars going on hidden from view. Some coaches have even been accused of coaching such untoward behavior.
Either way, the NBA should make that point clear to Brooks and to every other player with malicious designs. It’s a no-go. Verboten. As Mitchell said in so many words afterward, this kind of behavior needs to be nipped in the bud.
It cannot be tolerated.
Dillon Brooks should apologize, then. Do more than say he’s sorry. He might accept his punishment, but it should have been a sturdier one from the NBA — and promise to never go downtown ever again.
Never, ever again.