Tyrus Thomas of the Charlotte Bobcats has been suspended one game without pay for his Flagrant Foul, Penalty Two against Emeka Okafor of the New Orleans Hornets.
The incident, in which Thomas made elbow contact to Okafor’s head and was ejected following the Flagrant Foul, Penalty Two call, occurred in the fourth quarter of the Bobcats 88-81 loss on Saturday to the Hornets in Charlotte.
Watching the play a few times, it's clear to me that Thomas's elbow was anything but intentional. Not to say Thomas doesn't deserve the Flagranat Two, but Thomas looks to just be clearing a rebound. You're taught that technique at all levels of basketball. Not the swinging your elbow into someone's face part, but you're taught to grab the ball, pull both elbows up and use that to keep people from swiping at the ball. Thomas made the mistake of turning his elbow into a weapon.
Thomas swung slightly, which is bad, but it really looked to me that he didn't know that Okafor was in the area. It kind of looks like -- at least to me -- that Thomas was just turning up court to make an outlet pass when Okafor stuck his face in the path of Thomas' elbow.
My point is, I don't think it was a dirty play by Thomas at all. He immediately walked up to Okafor and apologized and Okafor accepted it. Rules are rules and any time you make contact with an elbow to someone's face like this, the Flagrant Two hammer comes down, meaning an ejection and suspension.
Then again, there could've been intent behind it. That's why even with some gray area, the league is making the right call for a suspension. There's no room for high elbows to faces, even if it was unintentional. It's a dangerous play and swinging an elbow just isn't smart.
Good thing this didn't happen to Chris Bosh or he'd probably be filing a police report right now. Think of his family!
Thomas will serve his suspension today when the Bobcats visit the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center.