The World

Does the NBA and NCAA need to revise their player policies?

Recently, I have questioned the integrity surrounding basketball players being allowed to play immediately after being accused or charged of a crime, after an Alabama player Brandon Miller was allowed to play directly after the murder of Jamea Jonae. 

In early February, the Alabama basketball team was shocked with the news that two of their players were potentially linked to the murder of 23 year old Jamea Jonae. 

Junior forward Darius Miles and freshman forward Brandon Miller were reported to be at the scene of the murder. Miles was quickly proven guilty, and was charged with capital murder since he was the one who provided a gun to the murderer, Michael Davis. Davis and Miles have been arrested, but even after Miller was found not guilty, many people still believe he was involved with the murder of Jonae. 

Miller has not seen any suspension after the murder of Jonae. In fact, Miller played the day after police testifying that he was at the scene of the crime and scored a career high 41 points. In addition, his actions have come across as insensitive to many, as, after the murder, when being introduced during games, other Alabama players jokingly patted him down as if they were searching him for weapons. While this is something he has done the whole season, he ignored advice to stop. 

In the NBA, there is a rule that states that teams are not allowed to suspend or ban a player from playing just because they have been arrested. In the NCAA, there are no explicit rules about arrested players. 

However, in the NCAA, you are not allowed to play if you do not “act with honesty and sportsmanship at all times so that you represent the honor and dignity of fair play and the generally recognized high standards associated with wholesome competitive sports” (NCAA Bylaw 10.01.1). 

This rule, while it makes sense, seems vague when applied to certain situations, like the Brandon Miller case. Miller claims he did not know that his teammate was involved with Jonae’s murder, but there were texts sent by Miles asking Miller to pick him up and bring his gun. Miller claims that he did not know about the gun. 

Dealing with athletes who have been arrested is a complicated subject, and it makes sense that many of the laws surrounding it are vague. After all, it is not uncommon for people to falsely accuse celebrities for attention. In addition, the basis of our legal system is innocent until proven guilty; however, these athletes are not everyday people. Children and fans alike watch these people on television and idolize them. 

It is my belief that the NBA and NCAA should spend more time dealing with athletes that have been arrested than simply allowing them to play until they are convicted. It is a complicated matter, but I think that the boards of the NBA and NCAA should be required to have a discussion on the status and severity of the crime the athlete is being accused of before allowing them to play. Having players like Miller go on the court directly after a tragic incident he could have played a part in can be upsetting, which is why these situations should be more thoroughly investigated. 

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