The NBA announced Monday that it will ban players from making “sexual advances” toward one another during games in 2018, a move the league said would help combat “sexual assault and harassment.”
The NBA will also be imposing tougher punishments on those who break its rules during games, including fines of up to $100,000 and a one-game suspension.
Players and the league say the changes will make players safer on the court, in front of the camera, and to teammates, while also increasing the level of professionalism and trust that is needed among teammates and fans.
The league will also require players to wear face shields during games.
The NBA has also pledged to develop a protocol to prevent players from sexually harassing teammates during games that also includes the use of video cameras.
“I have no problem with the players engaging in sexual activity with each other, but I do not want to see any inappropriate behavior toward my players,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement Monday.
“The league is committed to ensuring that all its players are treated with respect, and we are making this commitment to our fans and players.”
As players, we have a responsibility to ensure that our players feel safe on the floor and in the locker room.
“Players have been subject to some of sports’ most extreme rules for decades.
Players can’t kiss another player without permission, can’t play sports on the street, can be fined for urinating in public, and can’t smoke marijuana.
The NFL has been criticized for using its power to punish players and the owners for daring to openly engage in sexual misconduct.
Players were fired from the NFL’s New Orleans Saints in 2016, for instance, for allegedly grabbing women by the genitals and kissing them without their consent.
A few weeks after Saints coach Sean Payton was fired after the team was fined $25,000 for allegedly touching two women in a hotel elevator, former players Michael Sam and Jonathan Vilma were suspended for five games and fined $100 each.
In January, a pair of women alleged they were sexually harassed by New England Patriots defensive lineman Brandon Browner, who they say harassed them at a hotel.
The allegations prompted Browner to resign from the team, and New England placed its former star wide receiver, Aaron Hernandez, on a five-game substance abuse suspension.
In March, former Miami Dolphins defensive lineman Koa Misi was suspended for a month after police found he had sex with a female passenger in his Mercedes Benz.
The punishments, which are meant to punish the perpetrators of such behavior, are not unprecedented for sports.
A woman’s suspension from the NBA in 2016 was reportedly for violating the league’s sexual harassment policy, which requires players to abstain from sexual contact while on the team’s premises.