Philippines bans ex-NBA player for choking teammate
MANILA (AFP) –
Former NBA player Renaldo Balkman was banned from the Philippines’ professional basketball league for life after choking a teammate in the middle of a game, the association’s commissioner said Monday.
Balkman, who once played with the New York Knicks and the Denver Nuggets, was also fined 250,000 pesos ($6,100) over the incident, Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner Chito Salud said.
He was punished “for initiating threatening physical contact… amounting to a blatant and utter disrespect for the game, his own ball club, the league, the fans and his host country,” Salud said in a statement.
“I 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 teammates,” he added.
Balkman, who was playing with the PBA’s Petron Blaze Boosters on Friday was frustrated by a referee’s call as his team was losing the game to the Alaska Aces and angrily shoved aside one of his coaches.
When teammates tried to pacify him, Balkman pushed them away and grabbed his own team captain Arwind Santos by the neck before other players physically restrained him. The Boosters went on to lose the match 73-83.
He later apologised for his outburst and his teammates expressed support for him, but Salud went through with the ban.
Balkman had previously played four seasons with the Knicks and two seasons with the Nuggets from 2006-12 before being signed by the Petron Blaze Boosters in December 2012.