Opening Tip: Why can Ray play?
February, 27, 2014
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
New York Knicks guard Raymond Felton will take the court on Thursday against the Miami Heat, less than 48 hours after he was charged with two weapons related felonies in a Manhattan courtroom.
That probably doesn't make a ton of sense to some people working 9-to-5 jobs.
There are several NBA guidelines and norms that allow Felton to take the court, though.
Article VI, Section 15 of the league's collective bargaining agreement deals with player arrests. It states that "a team shall not impose discipline on a player solely on the basis of the fact that the player has been arrested."
So, according to the CBA, unless Felton's arrest directly violated team rules, the Knicks can't discipline him until the legal process plays out.
Article VI, Section 9 of the CBA spells out guidelines for firearms and other weapons. It states the following: "Whenever a player is physically present at a facility or venue owned, operated, or being used by a Team, the NBA, or any League-related entity, and whenever a player is traveling on any NBA-related business, whether on behalf of the player’s Team, the NBA, or any League-related entity, such player shall not possess a firearm of any kind or any other deadly weapon."
Unless Felton carried his weapon onto an NBA facility, he is not in violation of this code.
In most cases, the league will wait for legal proceedings to run their course before taking action against a player who has been arrested. Felton's next court case is June 2. If the league or the Knicks chose to discipline Felton before he is convicted of anything, acting National Basketball Players Association director Ron Klempner said that the union would take issue and defend Felton.
Also, according to Article V, section 10 of the CBA, players can receive only one penalty for each transgression. And the NBA's disciplinary action will preclude or supersede disciplinary action by the team for the same act or conduct. So the Knicks probably wouldn't impose any discipline on Felton before the league did.
For the reasons stated above, Felton will be able to suit up on Thursday.
Still, given all of that, the Knicks or the league had the option to immediately discipline Felton. The Knicks also could have asked Felton to take some time away from the team. But that's not happening. Felton will be on the floor Thursday.
Do you think the Knicks are making the right decision here?
Up now: Felton returned to practice on Wednesday and said he won't be a distraction to the team.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson said the team never considered asking Felton to take a leave of absence.
What's next: The Knicks take on the Miami Heat on Thursday night.
Question: Are the Knicks making the right call in letting Felton play?
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