Tantrums. Profanity. Ejections. And now elbows. Hassan Whiteside, the talented Miami Heat center, has found him self in trouble time after time following emotional outbursts. Whiteside emerged onto the scene during the 2014-2015 NBA season where he averaged over 10 rebounds per game and nearly 3 blocks per game. However with more minutes given to Whiteside he has proven incapable of handling his emotions. This begs the question: What is the talent cut-off for talented ball players to become too much of a headache to keep around?
Earlier this season, Rajon Rondo went under fire for outing a closeted gay referee during a game following a ejection. An act that in today's world would result in the firing of a CEO, Rondo was merely given a slap on the wrist in the form of a 1-game suspension. Two years ago, Rajon Rondo was a slumping, declining veteran who was coming off the bench of the Dallas Mavericks due to inefficient shooting and ball-handling. Now with the Kings, Rondo is having a career resurgence where he is averaging almost a double-double per game and he has improved in nearly every shooting category. How different would his punishment be ad this situation occurred under Mark Cuban in Dallas while Rondo was putting up crumby numbers? This type of question is not only relevant in the NBA, but all sports(Greg Hardy for the Dallas Cowboys, Puig for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Suarez for Liverpool).
There are no easy answers to this question. At the end of the day, the people making the decisions are more interested in the money from fan interest. If Chris Paul got suspended for when he taunted a women referee, would fans still want to watch the Clippers? The only way to change this outlook on troubled athletes is to impose harsh disciplinary measures; and that wont happen until us as fans put more effort into the upholding of sportsmanship rather than the excitement of basketball and all sports. For those that complain about issues such as these, most will still watch the games. A true barometer for the line between greatness and being a knucklehead may never be set in stone, but viewers hold the power to enforce stricter punishments to preserve the sanctity of the game.