It’s been a few solid days of unsportsmanlike behavior throughout all different genres.
The University of Hawaii announced on Tuesday that starting first baseman Eric Ramirez will be suspended for the Bows’ final six games of the season. After a couple of questionable calls went against UH during Monday night’s 5-4 home loss to UC Irvine, Ramirez seemed to intentionally throw a few balls in the direction of third base umpire Carl Coles during warmups between innings.
That action has ended the season for Ramirez, who is hitting .221 with five homers and 17 RBI. Coach Mike Trapasso told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that despite Ramirez being apologetic and calling his actions a “brain cramp,” there isn’t a place for that type of behavior on this team.
Another disgruntled athlete got himself suspended on Monday when Brazilian surfer Filipe Toledo stormed the judges tower at the Oi Rio Pro, upset with an interference call going against him. Toledo lost his third-round heat to Kanoa Igarashi and was given the triangle for an early interference infraction. The scores he finished with still would not have been enough to move through the heat even without his second-best score being halved. But Toledo obviously thought the decision was still worthy of a tirade.
After cooling down, Toledo apologized for his outburst, but to their credit, the WSL stuck to their guns and handed down a one-event suspension. Toledo won’t be competing at the Fiji Pro and can rejoin the world tour at Jeffreys Bay.
The third incident was less blatant and not directed at an official, but Warriors center Zaza Pachulia’s foul against Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard was a dirty play that may cost San Antonio any chance of competing in this Western Conference Finals series.
I’ve seen some differing opinions because it’s not a vicious elbow or anything that obvious, but Pachulia knew what he was doing when he took his second step closing out on Leonard’s jump shot. I don’t believe his intent was to cause an injury, but it was to make Leonard uncomfortable, to crowd his landing area and maybe to simply intimidate. Other players have used similar tactics in the past and most players would be able to identify it as an unnatural basketball act.
The end result was Leonard having to miss the remainder of Game 1, which allowed the Warriors to come back from a 25-point deficit. He also missed Game 2, which Golden State won handily.
I doubt the Spurs were going to push this series beyond five games even with a healthy Leonard, but losing the second-best two-way player in the NBA behind LeBron James is a challenge that feels impossible to overcome.
For one reason or another, athletes have had a hard time controlling their temperaments this week. It resulted in two suspensions, which maybe should have been three. I’d expect Ramirez and Toledo to learn from their actions and make the proper corrections moving forward.
Maybe the NBA will do the same with incidents like the Leonard injury. Competing hard is one thing but putting another player at risk for no reason other than putting the player at risk in this manner should be looked at more closely and seriously.
David Simon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.