Federal Judge Rules: O'Neal Back For Good
A federal judge ruled on Thursday that previously suspended Indiana Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal did not have to serve the final 10 games of the suspension handed to him by the league Commissioner David Stern.
This ruling upholds the temporary decision U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels made last week, prior to the Pacers' Christmas Day matchup vs Detroit Pistons.
That decision, in turn, upheld the one made by arbitrator Roger Kaplan, who stated that penalty handed to O'Neal was too harsh, citing the player's "character, community involvement and citizenship." He had cut it to 15 games, down 10 from the one handed out by David Stern.
Kaplan upheld the penalties handed out to Ron Artest (remainder of season), Stephen Jackson (30 games), and Anthony Johnson (5 games) for their involvement in the November 19th brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
The NBA then challenged Kaplan's authority to hear an appeal of Stern's punishment.