Wolves Edwards $50k fine for folding chair seems heavy handed

Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports /

As the Minnesota Timberwolves Round 1 of the 2023 NBA Playoffs came to an end, the Timberwolves walked off the basketball court tired and frustrated. But while that is typically where the story ends, it was not the case in this particular incident.

You see, a chair was carelessly left in the walkway used by the Timberwolves. That matter was corrected by a frustrated Anthony Edwards, who inadvertently made contact with two Denver Nuggets fans as he moved the chair out of his was. That would lead to the two women filing assault charges against Edwards, claiming that he ‘cited for third-degree assault for striking two women with a folding chair. . . ” following that game.

At the time, it seemed like it was a claim that was far too overdramatized, almost played up to position a whimsical lawsuit or some future version of a Jerry Springer telecast. But that was not where this ended. You see, the NBA has often taken a rather stern stance whenever it comes to the matter of players engaging with fans during or after the games.

And so, the NBA has finally ruled on the incident, and the outcome feels a bit heavy-handed:

Minnesota Timberwolves SG Anthony Edwards has been fined $50,000 by the NBA for

"‘…recklessly swinging a chair that struck two bystanders as he exited the court at the conclusion of the Timberwolves playoff game against the Denver Nuggets on April 25 at Ball Arena…”"

But that seems a bit . . . salty.

The NBA has long held a no-tolerance policy with NBA players interacting with fans for any reason. A sampling of fines levied against players include:

April 2017: Patrick Beverley fined $25,000 for a heated argument with a fan
January 2018: Rodney Hood fined $35,000 for slapping a cell phone out of a fan’s hand
February 2019: Montrezl Harrell fined $25,000 for directing inappropriate language toward a fan
March 2022: Kevin Durant fined $25,000 for directing obscene language toward a fan
April 2022: Kyrie Irving fined $50,000 for making obscene gestures on the playing court and directing profane language toward the spectator stands

But in all cases, it was a deliberate act of the NBA player to initiate the confrontation with fans. In the case of Minnesota Timberwolves star shooting guard Anthony Edwards, there was no deliberate interaction. He was heading off the court, grabbed a chair in his way, folded it, and placed it on the ground at the feet of two persons standing in the walkway.

That’s hardly a confrontational act. Anthony Edwards did not direct anything to any fans. He picked up a chair, spun his body, and placed the chair on the ground. Two persons standing the in walkway may have come into contact with the chair as it came to rest on the ground.

But this was hardly an impassioned irate player letting loose on fans. I could see a $25,000 fine. But $50,000 seems a bit heavy-handed to me.

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