If Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry, Draymond Green, LeBron James, Paolo Banchero, or Victor Wembanyama did what Josh Primo did, it would be the talk of the NBA as Media Days took place this week. But the NBA knows that, which is why most sports fans have no idea that the free-agent guard is about to sign a two-way contract with the Los Angeles Clippers and will face a four-game suspension for repeatedly showing his dick to multiple women at work.
The NBA has a long history of giving lesser-known players a slap on the wrist when they do disturbing things to women. And apparently, it’s going to stay that way until it involves a household name.
Primo won’t be able to step on an NBA court in a regular-season game until he serves a four-game ban, as the league thought that was a good enough punishment for Primo, who caused a former San Antonio Spurs sports psychologist to sue the team over the 20-year-old’s inability to keep it in his pants. The Spurs’ former No. 12 overall pick from the 2021 NBA Draft was cut last October after exposing himself to women on multiple occasions. He’s been in therapy and the Clippers are bringing him in.
You can agree or disagree with the league’s punishment and the Clippers’ decision. But what can’t be argued is that there’s a pattern in the NBA, one that shows that you can get away with doing bad stuff to women if nobody knows who you are or fans don’t care about you anymore.
Since Primo, there’s been Kevin Porter Jr. — a young guy with a lot of potential on a roster full of young guys with a lot of potential, playing for an aimless organization that lacks veterans in the locker room and a clear path forward in the front office. Primo’s mess started last season. Porter’s most egregious act occurred a few weeks ago when the Houston Rockets guard attacked his girlfriend — former WNBA player Kysre Gondrezick — and left her with a fractured neck vertebra and a deep cut above her right eye. The Rockets then tried to trade him away. Now they’re trying to rectify things by saying he can’t be part of the team.
Before Primo, there was Rajon Rondo — a former star in the league who hasn’t had an impact since he won his second NBA Championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in The Bubble. Last year, Rondo was in the middle of a very concerning situation with the mother of his children.
“You’re dead” is what he allegedly told her, in front of the children, after she asked one of the kids to help with some laundry while they were playing video games with him. Rondo then left and came back with a gun, demanding to see his kids. The mother of Rondo’s children received an emergency protective order against him. It was eventually dismissed. The story just kind of went away.
Before Rajon Rondo, there was Miles Bridges — an up-and-coming young star who was a pivotal piece for the Charlotte Hornets. Bridges was arrested for felony domestic violence. He eventually was sentenced to three years of probation as part of a deal with prosecutors that didn’t involve any jail time. The NBA hit him with a 30-game suspension. He didn’t play last season. He’ll be back this year.
Before Miles Bridges, there was DeMarcus Cousins — an aging center who used to be the best big man in the NBA before injuries took a toll. Back in 2019, he made headlines for telling the mother of his son “I’m gonna make sure I put a bullet in your fucking head,” over a dispute about having his son at his wedding.
“Things didn’t work out the way I wanted it to for my day, I was upset. So I said some things I shouldn’t have said, but that person knew what it was coming from,” Cousins admitted on a February 2020 episode of the All The Smoke Podcast. “I mean I’ve seen a lot of things, heard a lot of stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I’m 100 percent against domestic violence. Like 100 percent. I watched my mother go through that as a child. So when it comes to that, I’m the first advocate for that. But with that being said, I said the wrong thing. Heat of the moment. We’ve all done it… When it comes to your kids, it’s a whole ‘nother situation. I’m pretty sure everybody with kids can speak on that. But it was still wrong.”
The third-degree harassment charges against Cousins were dropped. He was never suspended by the league, and was able to still find work, but hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2021-2022 season.
Imagine if one of the faces of the league were involved in any of these events. Then imagine how the NBA would react. The seriousness of the crime shouldn’t be dictated by how beloved or popular the culprit is. Wrongs have been done by players in this league and it feels like the brass keeps looking the other way in hopes that the stories won’t receive much traction due to who’s involved. And if that’s the case, it feels like the NBA is operating in the way the NFL does — which is a blueprint no league should ever follow.
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