Renaldo Balkman receives lifetime ban for choking teammate

Remember how former NBA player Renaldo Balkman completely lost it recently and choked a teammate playing in the Philippines?

He apologized both through Twitter and a statement, but it wasn't enough to save him from a stiff punishment.

The league announced that Balkman will serve a lifetime ban from the Philippine Basketball Association and pay a fine of 250,000 Philippine pesos (about $6,140) for "initiating threatening physical contact with a referee followed by a prolonged, offensive, belligerent if not aberrant on-court decorum directed toward game officials and his Petron teammates and superiors."

More of the league's statement on the punishment:

In arriving at this decision, I took into consideration Balkman’s track record as a player, including the head-butting incident during a FIBA-Americas game between Puerto Rico and Venezuela and his altercation with the bench of the Alaska Aces during a pre-Season game in Cebu City.  I also took into consideration Balkman’s evident disregard for local and the host country’s sensibilities highlighted by his choking act on-court in full public view of his own teammate who was trying to pacify him.  Stiff as it may be, this decision upholds the tenets of contextual accountability and the over-all interest of the League and the fans.

I do encourage passion for the game but I also want to firmly instill a culture of accountability among our players. If one does something that violates the rules and the norms of sportsmanship and decent behaviour, he will be made accountable.

The value of accountability is important for me to uphold at all times.  I think it is key to this League’s continued success, the development of our players’ maturity and to their role as models to our fans, especially the youth.

Balkman responded on Twitter to the decision and took it in stride:

It's harsh, and not one you'd see in the NBA, but probably an appropriate sentence from the league. The PBA just can't tolerate a former NBA player bullying others in their league like that. It sets a bad precedent that they're above the league because of their background.

What happens next for Balkman is the question. Assuming he doesn't appeal the decision and then find a new Philippine team, he's a 28-year-old role player without a place to play. In seven games in the PBA, Balkman was averaging 25.0 points and 13.4 rebounds while leading his team to a 5-2 record. In the NBA he's been nothing more than an energy role player.

He'll likely find another place to play, whether it's in Europe or China or Israel. But don't count on seeing him back in the NBA anytime soon.


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