Following on from the NBL Full Panel Tribunal decision in relation to the banning of import player Tony Mitchell, which determined the original suspension handed down by the Single Member Tribunal was excessive in light of the gravity of the conduct, and as such the penalty applied to Tony Mitchell has been reduced to a suspension of 10 NBL games by majority decision, the Australian Basketballers’ Association (ABA) has issued the following statement:
The ABA agrees that the penalty of the Single Member Tribunal was excessive and should have been downgraded. It also notes that the submissions, which were not provided at the Single Member hearing, significantly assisted the Full Member Tribunal in coming to this decision.
ABA CEO Jacob Holmes said, “The ABA is pleased that the penalty applied to the actions of Tony Mitchell have been reduced. However, this penalty continues to be well above similar offences in other leagues, including the NBA, and sets a concerning precedent.
“There needs to be an understanding of the implications this decision has for future players, as well as for the NBL as a league of choice in the global basketball marketplace.
“If the NBL is seen to be handing down sanctions which are disproportionate, and which have ramifications internationally in regards to a players’ capacity to earn, we need to look very seriously at how this may impact our attractiveness as a league to other players.”
However, the ABA also reiterates its position that the players do not, in any way, condone the actions of Tony Mitchell.
“This is an unsportsmanlike act which should not be disregarded and must be met with a fair and reasonable penalty which fits the nature of the offence.
“The often difficult position of referees must be respected and they should be afforded protection from this type of action” Holmes said.