Black Sports Online and a few others have reported that Kevin Garnett taunted Carmello Anthony by telling him that his wife, Actress LaLa Vasquez, “tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios” during Monday night’s Knicks – Celtics game.
Assuming KG did, in fact, make such a statement, who thinks KG should be sanctioned for his conduct?
After all, Melo received a one game suspension for waiting in the tunnel to discuss his favorite cereal with KG after the game. And, the reason the Knicks lost last night against the Pacers, an inferior team, was that the Knicks players were demoralized, knowing that another team’s player could describe how one of their wives tastes right on the open court with complete impunity and if you try to have a conversation about it after the game, you will be suspended.
Incidentally, the “fighting words” exception to the first amendment is a legal doctrine, not applicable in this context of purely private actors. Spoken or written words expressed to incite hatred or violence from their target are considered “fighting words” lacking the first amendment free speech protection afforded generally to other forms of speech. See Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568 (1942). This narrow and dusty doctrine used to justify government restriction of speech (usually in the form of an arrest) does not come into play with the NBA, a purely private entity, when it chooses to issue sanctions for foul language on the court. https://thelegalblitz.com/blog/2011/10/01/freedom-of-speech-isnt-free-for-professional-athletes
Please comment: Sanction KG or not?