The League has reviewed the tapes, talked to everyone involved, and made the following decision. Towns and Embiid received a two-game suspension for the altercation, and Ben Simmons was not disciplined. The Timberwolves are not happy with such a ruling.
If you look at the tape, there is some back and forth going on, KAT clinches Embiid’s hand so Embiid pushes him off and then Towns takes a swing. Next thing you know, the two are in a lock, or as Barkley called it “a snuggle.” The Timberwolves don’t dispute that part but are angry that the Lague didn’t take Embiids past record into account.
In Timberwolves’ eyes, Embiids instigation of the conflict during the game, his shadow boxing, and hyping the home crowd, and the series of vulgar messages on social media after the fact should’ve resulted in harshed discipline for Embiid.
To translate the Timberwolves way of thinking, Embiid’s been asking for an ass-kicking for a long time now, and the league can’t be surprised when somebody decided enough is enough. He continually provokes conflict, on and off the court, and the league can’t expect other players to take it. They believe Town’s behavior before and after the incident wasn’t appreciated enough, especially compared to Embiid’s. Here’s how Wolves GM Gerson Rosas summed it up (via The Athletic):
“I think the message we’re sending is we’re going to compete and fight for everything that we deserve in this league,” Rosas said. “Sometimes you have to defend yourself and last night was an example of that.”
While I can understand the Wolves’ point of view, trash-talking on the court is an integral part of the game, and you can’t respond with punches. Talk back or outplay the guy. So while Embiid might’ve provoked it, Towns did throw the first punch, so an equal suspension makes sense.
The social media stuff is new territory, but a case could be made Embiid took it too far. Trash talking is done on the court, and you may send a message through media, but that message has to be appropriate for mass consumption. This is a new element that the League Office will have to get in front of before it gets out of hand.
P.S. The Wolves also complained about Simmons’ holding KAT down with a “chokehold,” but that’s nonsense. The two are friends, and Simmons was obviously there to calm KAT down.