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What Was Worse? NBA Fight or the Penalty?

May 09, 1998

The suspensions of Alonzo Mourning and Larry Johnson illustrate the absurdity of granting unlimited power with no accountability to individuals like Rod Thorn.

Exactly who was punished as a result of the fight between Johnson and Mourning? The players? Or the fans and the teams? The NBA should understand that concept of punishment. You punish the participants, not the observers.

JOSEPH S. FISCHBACH, Beverly Hills

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Now that the NBA's aggressive disciplinary intervention has caused the better team to lose the New York-Miami series two years in a row, why don't we all agree that last year's miscarriage of justice has been duly corrected?

Now, how about a change in policy whereby the NBA stops suspending players and depends on fines if it feels the need to impose discipline? The players will still get the message and the fans will get to see the series decided on its merits.

ALBERT R. RODRIGUEZ, Los Angeles

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Where is the NBA commissioner when he is needed most? Instead of being so concerned with merchandising the game off the court, why not be more concerned with the game on the court? Before the Knick-Heat series, he should have declared the obvious: Any repeat of the disgrace of the previous year would not be tolerated.

I can only wonder what the greats of the game, from Jerry West and Oscar Robertson to Julius Erving and Magic Johnson, think as they watch their game degenerate to thuggery. It is a sorry sight.

JEFFREY R. THOMSON, Los Angeles

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The look on Alonzo Mourning's face as he was being pulled away from Larry Johnson was frightening, not to mention demonic. This is a guy whose anger was nurtured by John Thompson at Georgetown and has come full force under the tutelage of pit-bull trainer Pat Riley.

DELL FRANKLIN, Cayucos, Calif.

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