NBA: Why 'Spill-Gate' Was Dumbest Fine Ever Given

By Jon Bruno
Jason Kidd Nets
Sam Sharpe – USA Today Sports Images

We can all agree that $50,000 is a lot of money. Money that most people in the United States don’t have to just throw away. Now, imagine if you had to pay $50,000 for a drink? Well, Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd probably payed more money for an eight-ounce soft drink than anyone ever has in the history of our country.

If you haven’t heard of “spill-gate” yet, you’re probably very confused and interested in the rest of my story, asking yourself how and why someone would pay that much for a drink. So, for those of you who live under a rock on the moon, Kidd was fined $50K for intentionally spilling his drink in Wedensday night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kidd intentionally told Tyshawn Taylor to hit him with 8.3 seconds left in the game when he had no timeouts left and the Lakers were shooting free throws. Down two points with still one free throw left to be shot, Kidd clearly tells Taylor to hit him while he was holding an iced beverage. Kidd dropped the beverage, so obviously the beverage spilled, causing there to be a stoppage in the game clock so that the drink could be cleaned up. Kidd then strateicgally used the stoppage in play to buy his team a timeout and draw up a play, while also icing the free-throw shooter.

Kidd’s drink spill had no effect because Jodie Meeks still made the second free-throw and Brooklyn couldn’t convert on the final play and still lost. Kidd went onto tell the media that his drink spill was due to sweaty hands, and Taylor denied that Kidd ever said “hit me” to him. The NBA was quick on the case, however, and fined Kidd $50k the very next day. But, for the life of me, I will never understand how they came to this conclusion.

I would understand if the NBA’s reason for such a large fine was because of Kidd’s denying of the accusations at first, but for the actual spill? I think that’s very trivial. When you break it down, the NBA essentially fined Jason Kidd for making a smart, quick-witted decision. I mean, come on, where is the credit? In a season where virtually nothing has gone right for Kidd in his first year as a coach, he made a very savvy decision on his toes to try to give his team a chance to pull out a close victory. The NBA fined Kidd for being smart.

Also, it’s not like this is the first time this has happened. Mike Fratello, who was on the call of the game, even said right after the spill happened, “I used to do that all the time on purpose to talk to the team.” This was said on-air, on live television. It’s not like Kidd just made it up on the spot; he’s clearly seen it be done before. Jason Kidd was simply taking advantage of the NBA’s skewed and confusing current rule book, which has been an even thinner line this season.

Coaches are employed to give their teams the best chance to win each game. That was what Kidd was simply trying to do. Should this move really have been deemed illegal? If anything, the NBA should look at themselves and see how easy it was for Kidd to be a puppet master and use their own rules to his advantage. Obviously, a spill will need to be cleaned up, but should he have really been fined? Especially since it seemed to have almost no effect on the final outcome of the game?

I understand that the NBA got scared because they saw how smart of an idea this was and they don’t want coaches to jump on it like they did on the “Hack-A-Howard.” But out of all the fines of seen given out in the NBA and the NFL over the last few years, this takes the cake as the most ridiculous. I mean, seriously, we don’t even know if Kidd will make it till the end of the year as the head coach. Can we give one of the greatest players ever a little bit of credit as a coach? If anything, the fine should have been for denying the play’s intentions.

Jon Bruno is an NBA and NFL writer for Rant Sports. Read more of his articles here

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