I guess I would say that the league is sending a message that says, 'You're the best athletes in the world, play the game,' " Stern said. "And you know what? If you get baited, don't take the bait. And let's play. Let's show what you got, which happens to be the most extraordinarily gifted athletes playing a spectacular game. And we're not going to let it degenerate into something else. Period.Players taunt other players in the NBA all the time - it's just a part of the game, like trash-talking - and the NBA has technical fouls in a game to deal with it.
But a $25,000 dollar fine for a gesture(the same one Stern himself is using in the picture above)?
Pierce (as well as Danny Ainge, and coach Doc Rivers) has come out and stated it wasn't a gang sign (and his foundation helps to ensure that kids stay out of gangs) - but rather the sign for "blood, sweat, and tears" that's been used all year long.
So then why was Stern so quick to react and say what he did - choosing his words as he did?
Because Paul Pierce is black?
If Pau Gasol throws up a sign with his hand is he going to get a $25,000 fine too?
Probably not because Pau is a white guy.
Stern isn't sending a message about discipline in the NBA - he's sending a message to black players. He's saying "You're black. You threw up a sign with your hand. I associate black people with gang violence therefore you were throwing up a gang sign and I'm not going to tolerate that in my NBA. No matter what you do as a person or as a player, I'll still stereotype you because you're a black man."