Renaldo Balkman Banned From Basketball League After Choking Teammate

Renaldo Balkman, the ex-NBA player, has been thrown out of the Philippine Basketball Association after choking teammate Arwind Santos. He has also been fined the equivalent of about $6,000 US dollars. The fine that accompanies Renaldo Balkman being banned is supposedly the largest ever assessed by the league against a player from another country.

Balkman, 28, who used to play for the New York Knicks and the Denver Nuggets, was until today a forward for the Petron Blaze Boosters. In the waning seconds of a loss in the PBA Commissioners Cup to the Alaska Aces on Friday by a score of 83-73, Balkman got really ticked about a non-call by one of the referees. He argued with all three refs (making contact with one of them), got hit with a technical foul, and then pushed and shoved assistant coaches and teammates who were trying to calm him down.

But then Balkman went into full meltdown mode. He pushed teammate Arwind Santos, Santos pushed back, and then Balkman put his hands around Santos’ throat. He was restrained by other players before things got even more ugly.

In announcing that Renaldo Balkman was banned from the league, PBA Commissoner Chito Salud indicated that he took the player’s past behavior into consideration, including certain other incidents of misconduct. He went on to say:

“I also took into consideration Balkman’s evident disregard for local and the host country’s sensibilities highlighted by his choking act on-court in full public view of his own teammate who was trying to pacify him. Stiff as it maybe, this decision upholds the tenets of contextual accountability and the over-all interest of the League and the fans.

“I do encourage passion for the game but I also want to firmly instill a culture of accountability among our players. If one does something that violates the rules and the norms of sportsmanship and decent behavior, he will be made accountable.”

Balkman lasted for only seven games in the Philippine league for the 5-2 Petron, averaging 25 points, 13.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 2.7 blocks. Whether he can reboot his career in another pro basketball league, despite his good stats, remains to be seen.

Watch the video of the choking incident here.