The deafening silence from Monta Ellis’ camp finally ended this evening when Jeff Fried, Ellis’ agent, released a statement on behalf of his client.
ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard has the full story here, and it confirms what Ellis made apparent yesterday with his no-comment brush past the local media: That he will be fighting the 30-game suspension handed down by the team after Ellis wracked his left ankle while engaging in the contractually prohibited activity of riding a 250cc moped. Broussard reported that the appeal will be filed next week.
Some highlights of Ellis’ statement:
“While management and I do not agree on their actions, I want to be clear that my injury is based on my mistake in judgment. And I always accept responsibility for my actions. . . .
“I am working hard to get back on the court and help my teammates and coaches win many games and recreate the playoff atmosphere of 2007. We were as excited on the court as the fans in the stands. . . .
“The Bay area has become home to me and I love everything about this community. I see the kids wearing Number 8 in the arena and around the Bay area and it always brings a big smile to my face and a sense of pride and responsibility.”
17 Responses to “Monta speaks … and he’s going to appeal”
Maybe Monta’s decision to appeal goes beyond the individual circumstances of his suspension. There maybe some precedent at stake with accepting this suspension and fine.
The NBA players union and his agent may have some stake in the suspension.
If he accepts responsibility for his actions, he should accept the fine and not appeal.
With the appeal now, he seems to be saying, “Oh yeah, I broke the rules in the contract but I shouldn’t get punished for it. Who cares if I ruined the season for the franchise and the fans.”
Monta is not trying to get off completely, he’ll just try to get a few games of the suspension knocked off. It won’t hurt to try.
I’m going to find the Sprewell case and see how he avoided getting voided. Perhaps I can translate the legalese into something for normal people.
Lawyers aren’t normal. For worse.
A Federal judge ordered Latrell Sprewell’s lawyers to pay $153,000 for arguing a lawsuit that challenged the basketball star’s 68-game suspension for choking his coach.
United States District Judge Vaughn Walker first dismissed the suit in July 1998, gave Sprewell another chance to remedy its defects, then dismissed it again last March. …
Yesterday, Walker told the lawyers to pay $113,000 to the National Basketball Association’s lawyers for their costs of defending against the suit, $35,000 to the Golden State Warriors’ lawyers for defense costs, and $5,000 to the court for ”this waste of judicial resources.”
Concluding the penalty phase of an incident that damaged everyone it touched, an arbitrator reinstated Golden State Warrior star Latrell Sprewell’s contract Wednesday and trimmed his suspension back to July 1.
“The evidence indicates that there is no history of both the league and a team imposing discipline for the same violent conduct, on or off the court. This speaks to the issue of fairness, as I see it.
“I note that … $6.4 million exceeds the total of all suspensions imposed on all players for physical altercations during the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons combined, and all suspensions imposed for altercations during the 1992-93, 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons combined.
“I find that a penalty of 68 games is commensurate with the severity of the misconduct, addresses the wrong done to the head coach and conveys a message that violence in the NBA will be dealt with severely but always with due regard to principles of fairness.”
Nor did Feerick accept Stern’s argument that Sprewell’s act was premeditated, since the player left the court after choking Carlesimo, returned, argued with his coach anew and punched him.
Feerick said the attacks should be treated as a single altercation and did not constitute “moral turpitude,” as proscribed in Section 16 of Sprewell’s contract, which was cited by the team in trying to void it.
A few points:
1. The federal district and circuit court opinions aren’t really relevant, since they deal with issues beyond the termination of the contract. Sprewell had a number of contentions that went beyond the voiding; he was contesting the NBA’s suspension and generally wanted a “win” to get his public image back.
2. One sticking point appears to be that the Warriors immediately imposed a 10 game suspension (the same evening), THEN terminated the contract; meanwhile the NBA had begun its investigation and subsequently imposed a one-year suspension. The arbitrator held that after the Warriors’ initial suspension, the team’s interests were “subsumed” into the NBA’s interest and greater authority.
Not sure what to do with this one, but in the Sprewell incident, the Warriors “reserved the right” to terminate his deal after the suspension, much as they did with Ellis…and it did not turn out well for them. This does not bode well for any future attempt to void Ellis’ deal.
3. The arbitrator held that Sprewell’s actions did not constitute “moral turpitude.” This will seem odd to lay people, but “moral turpitude” is a highly …elastic… term of art. Normally such terms will have specific definitions, but here, moral turpitude is whatever the contract says it is.
In various criminal contexts (some of which are tied to immigration law…), assault and battery is not a “crime of moral turpitude.” Lying, fraud, deception, however, are moral turpitude. Wierd, but that’s how the words have been interpreted in that context, and apparently, thats how the arbitrator read it.
As I speculated either here or on another forum, Ellis’ breach was unequivocal - moped writing is explicitly forbidden. There is far less “wiggle” than the “moral turpitude” clause of Sprewell’s contract.
4. The NBA/Warriors appear to have shot themselves in the foot by their previous punishments. As Joe posted above, the Sprewell fine surpasses all previous fines TOTALED together. While the action was certainly egregious, so was the punishment…so it fell into a rather subjective weighing of two extremes, and Sprewell got lucky.
5. In the Ellis context, an arbitrator would certainly look at the Ramanovic and Duhon situations. Ramanovic got a $250K fine IIRC; Duhon had his $12M contract bought out for around $3M IIRC.
Hope that helps.
nice letter tho written by some f*cking lawyer for Monta
Jon, you are referring to J.Williams’ buyout for $3 m., are you not? The moto crash precedent, in fact. Duhon was Williams’ back up and eventual successor at Duke, and ended up drafted by Chi just as Williams was, as well; he had a career night vs. GS and ended up with D’Antoni in NY. Williams possessed a rather more incandescent talent, from what I’ve heard, at least in college.
Yes, that’s right- I meant Jay Williams. Got my Bulls point guards mixed up.
The Chicago Bulls would have had the right to void his contract entirely since Williams’ contract (and, IIRC, all Uniform Player Contracts signed by all pro athletes these days).
Reinsdorf/Krause (forget which, ask a Bulls fan) decided to buy Williams out instead voluntarily. One motivation might have been to avoid arbitration, another might have been pity/sorrow/etc. In any case, the NBA informed the Bulls, after the team notified the league of their intentions, that they could have just voided the deal instead, but one of the Jerrys decided to go with the buyout anyways.
Rowell stated on the record that Duhon is a precedent they consulted, but since that case did not end up in arbitration, it is not entirely on point (Forgive the pun). The Warriors should be looking at both Duhon and Sprewell incidents.
I’m a X-Chicagoan. That injury broke my heart.
John Paxson was the GM and he didn’t really couch the deal as a buyout. I don’t see how Williams did anything but invalidate his contract when he rode a motorcycle (wasn’t allowed to) and nearly killed himself. Jason ‘Jay’ Williams was GRATEFUL the Bulls paid him 3 Million after the accident.
The issue with Ellis is what if he can play but isn’t fast enough. Who decides and what’s the long term impact on his contract? Williams was cut and dry. Ellis may have lost a step and thus not worth 66M.
In the Spreewell case, the judge did not accept Stern’s argument the incident was premeditated. In Ellis’ case, he knew or should of known the words of the contract which included not riding a moped, but still jumped on the moped which. Would that hamper his case?
Check out my spiel on “moral turpitude”. The term is subject to loose and fast interpretation by lawyers and courts, so it was harder for the Warriors/NBA to sell Spree’s actions as a violation of the “moral turpitude” clause.
While ordinarily you’d think moped riding is far less egregious than assault, in *contract terms*, it’s actually better for the Warriors/worse for Ellis, IMO, because it is more clearly defined. Moped riding is moped riding.
As for the knowledge of what’s in the contract, I THINK that there’s a presumption that Ellis knows what’s in there. He has a lawyer that participated in negotiations, the contract (per NBA rules) is a Uniform Player Contract substantially similar to what every PRO ATHLETE uses across all sports.
I agree with you that Monta’s injury could result in his losing a step. Jeff Fried is demanding the Warriors either fine or void Monta’s contract right now. Fried’s position is the Warriors reserving the ability to void Monta’s contract in the future is double jeopardy for Ellis. Obviously the Warriors have already fined Ellis but won’t really be in a position to determine whether Monta has any long term effects such as loss of speed which would alter his value of his contract until some time in the future.
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