Hard-fouling O'Neal subject to suspension
By Ira Winderman
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted March 23 2006
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. · Due to two after-the-fact rulings by the NBA, Heat center Shaquille O'Neal is subject to a one-game suspension should he be called for a severe flagrant foul the balance of the season.
Under the NBA's scale, players are assessed one or two points for a flagrant foul, with a suspension mandated when the total exceeds five points for the season.
With NBA Vice President Stu Jackson this week upgrading the penalty-one flagrant foul O'Neal was assessed for his blow Saturday to Chicago's Andres Nocioni, the Heat center now has four points in the system.
Earlier this season, an offensive foul by O'Neal against Utah center Jarron Collins was upgraded by Jackson from a non-flagrant violation to a penalty-two violation.
A penalty-two is assessed for "unnecessary and excessive contact."
By rule, if the penalty-two violation is assessed during a game, an ejection is mandatory. In both cases, O'Neal was allowed to play on before the upgraded rulings were issued by Jackson days later.
O'Neal initially declined to comment on Jackson's ruling, but then relented Wednesday before the Heat faced the Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
"When I retire I will be coming after his job," he said. "He's not that good. You can quote me on that."
The flagrant-foul scale is reset for the postseason. Should O'Neal exceed five flagrant points in the Heat's regular-season finale, the one-game suspension would be served during the first game of next season, not the upcoming playoffs.
Asked if a looming suspension would impact his intensity, O'Neal said, "No. No it will not."
O'Neal was fined $5,000 for the infraction against Nocioni. A one-game suspension would cost O'Neal in excess of $222,000.