The National Basketball League (NBL) will not be proceeding with charges against Melbourne Tigers’ import Julius Hodge for his post-game actions following his team’s match against the Adelaide 36ers on Saturday night.
Hodge drew the ire of the 5,984-strong crowd at the Distinctive Homes Dome in Adelaide after celebrating the Tigers’ 87-84 overtime victory over his former team by twice stamping on the Brett Maher Court logo.
NBL General Manager Chuck Harmison determined that the actions of Hodge, whilst immature, did not constitute a breach of the NBL’s Code of Conduct.
“Whilst it is clear that Julius Hodge’s actions on Saturday night were ill-conceived and juvenile, we do not consider them to be a breach of the NBL’s Code of Conduct,” said Harmison. “With no formal report lodged by either the 36ers or the game officials over the incident, Hodge will therefore face no sanctions from the league.
“It is disappointing that a game which was an absolute thriller, that went to overtime, and which drew the biggest NBL crowd of the season thus far, should be remembered for one player’s distasteful actions rather than the fantastic basketball played. That being said, NBL basketball is always exciting and emotional, and we understand that sometimes our athletes get carried away with their celebrations after a win. Clearly however Hodge went over the top and underestimated the high esteem in which the Adelaide crowd, and indeed the rest of the basketball community, hold Brett Maher.”
Harmison said Hodge’s allegations of racial taunts from the Adelaide crowd would be investigated thoroughly and warned that any fans who were found to have acted inappropriately would face potential bans from future NBL matches.
“Hodge’s allegations of racial taunting following the game are a serious concern and we will work closely with the 36ers and venue security staff to identify any individuals who may have used racial slurs against Hodge,” said Harmison. “There is absolutely no place for that sort of behaviour in the NBL or indeed in our society.”
The NBL will also undertake an overall review of the way the 36ers handled the post-game events on Saturday.
“We will be working closely with the club to undertake a thorough review of Saturday’s game-day operations as well as the actions of both the 36ers staff and venue security personnel on the night to ensure that appropriate procedures were followed,” said Harmison. “Our number one priority must always be the safety of our players, team personnel and fans, so it’s important that the club and the league learn from this incident.”
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