Adam Silver: Image problem for NBA

Updated: March 1, 2014, 12:38 PM ET
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com

NBA commissioner Adam Silver believes Raymond Felton's weapons-related felony charges create "an image problem for the league."

"We spend a lot of time here educating our players on guns," Silver told ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike" on Friday morning. "We have a rookie transition program where there are several seminars about, of course, the dangers of guns. But, also, players do have a legal right to guns in certain jurisdictions and we assist our players if they are insistent on having a gun, how to do it legally.

"In this case, at least, the allegation is Raymond didn't have a legal gun in New York. So it's a problem for all of us; it's an image problem for the league."

Felton was arraigned late Tuesday night and charged with two weapons-related felonies.

Barring unforeseen punishment from the NBA or the New York Knicks, Felton likely will be able to play the rest of the season.

Felton's next court date is June 2.

The 29-year-old returned to the basketball court on Thursday, going 1-for-7 in 31 minutes in the Knicks' loss to the Heat.

Silver's comments on Friday were the first made by the NBA on Felton's legal issues.

"He's always struck me as a very thoughtful, good guy," Silver said of Felton. "He's unfortunately now going to have to go though this process with the legal system, and we're a little bit of a bystander when it comes to any sort of legal proceedings. We certainly believe in due process at the NBA, and he gets the presumption of innocence."

According to the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, a team is not permitted to discipline a player based solely on an arrest. The NBA often lets the legal process play out before implementing any punishment.

Acting National Basketball Players Association director Ron Klempner has said the union would take issue with any premature discipline of Felton.

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