When the NBA suspended Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat for Friday’s game against the Detroit Pistons for purportedly kicking Ramon Sessions in the groin, the team expressed its displeasure via press interviews.
Today, Heat president Pat Riley decided to make that displeasure more formal.
In an official statement released to the press the Heat voiced the same message that head coach Erik Spoelstra spoke abut in interviews on Thursday. In the statement the team expressed their disagreement with the league’s decision while still accepting it. The statement also pointed out that Wade has never been suspended before and his career. The strongest part of the statement however addressed opposing team defenses that ‘take privilege with’ with Wade and other Heat players in the team’s eyes.
This is not a new concern for Miami. Since the ‘Big 3′ era began in the 2010-11 season there have been rumblings about how other teams play the Heat on defense and how it has been officiated. The time where the rumblings have been loudest before today was in last season’s Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Indiana Pacers.
The personal tone of the statement along with the blunt disagreement with the NBA expressed in it reinforces what can be called ‘The Pat Riley Doctrine.’ Riley has been very protective of his players since he came to Miami as both head coach and team president. He has built a culture of family in the Heat franchise and that has proven key in signing LeBron James and Chris Bosh as free agents in the Summer of 2010.