When the news of Deandre Ayton’s suspension first broke, rumors swirled of an imminent appeal. Over a month later, news of the topic from league and the Phoenix Suns has been suspiciously absent.
When you hear the rambling of a medication’s plethora of side effects on drug commercials, you never hear them say, “May cause your star center to be suspended 25 NBA games.” Unfortunately for the Phoenix Suns, this was the major side effect of the diuretic Deandre Ayton consumed.
At the time of the announcement, Adrian Wojnarowski reported the NBPA would likely expedite an appeal process for Ayton. On top of that, Deandre himself alluded to arbitration that would shorten his suspension.
A few days after the news broke, Bleacher Report stated it was likely Ayton’s case would be heard within a week, and Suns fans everywhere held their collective breath that the news might not end up being as bad as everyone thought.
Hopefully those fans are not still holding their breath, because that is the last we have heard of the appeal.
The silence surrounding Ayton’s appeal process is extremely suspicious and leaves fans wondering what in the world actually happened.
Essentially, there are two primary possibilities:
- The appeal was heard by the league and was subsequently denied.
- Ayton, the NBPA, and the Phoenix Suns never officially filed for an appeal in the first place.
Normally, one would presume option #1 to be the most likely culprit of Ayton’s continued suspension. Most of these appeals fall on deaf ears and while the league may placate the NBPA rights, the decision is probably often made before any evidence is heard.
However, my gut tells me there is a strong possibility that option #2 is what happened, and the folks in the Ayton and Suns camps foresaw the likely outcome, succumbed, and took their medicine.
Oops. Horrible choice of clichés there. My bad.
The point is, I don’t think the NBPA took the case to the appeals committee at all.
From what was publicly stated, Ayton’s best defense was:
"“This was an unintentional mistake and unfortunately I put something in my body that I was completely unaware of.”"
Some people might translate that to, “I’m guilty, but it was all inadvertent.”
Would you use that defense in front of a judge when you are ticketed for speeding? No. In fact, you likely wouldn’t take the case to court to begin with.
Granted, a speeding ticket isn’t likely to cost one-third of your yearly salary (or, in Ayton’ case, $2.17 million) but the principle is the same.
In hindsight, it is also a bit telling the statement from the Phoenix Suns themselves when he was first suspended made no reference to any type of appeal or arbitration.
Now over a month into the suspension, it is reasonable to expect some kind of news on the matter, and yet, nothing.
While the silence is maddening, it is safe to assume at this point it will continue, and the Phoenix Suns are planning on transitioning Ayton back into the swing of things.