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Have Your Say: Should there be Consequences for Refusing to Play?

One thing coaches often have to deal with is players demanding more playing time. But Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue had the reverse problem in Game 4 of the Cavs’ playoff series against the Toronto Raptors this season.

In the fourth quarter of a blowout win, Lue tried to insert seldom-used shooting guard Rodney Hood to try and get him some playing time. But to the surprise of everyone, Lue and the rest of the Cavaliers, Hood refused.

Teammates were “angered” by his actions, and it was widely expected that Hood would be suspended for future playoff games. But Hood has since apologized, and will not be suspended from the team. While the Cavs seem to have moved on, it raises an interesting question. Are players obligated to enter a game because his or her coach says so?

A teammate’s anger is understandable. The rest of the team has been working their hardest all game, and even if the result is no longer in doubt, isn’t any opportunity to contribute a good thing? Should someone get the opportunity to say “no” to that?

There could be many factors a player doesn’t want to go in the game that the audience might not be privy to, but does the situation matter? If a player doesn’t want to play the final minutes in a blowout, why should he have to?

What’s Your Take?

Take 1: If the coach says play, you play

A sports team is like any other team. They work together, but there is a boss. And when the boss gives an order, you need to follow it. Hood not playing meant that one of his other teammates, who maybe was more tired than he was and could get hurt, had to go in instead. Every player gets frustrated for one reason or another, but you need to suck it up and go play.

If a player declines to play, he should be handed a reasonable consequence as a message that behavior of that kind will not be tolerated.

Take 2: Player knows best

You never know what a player is going through. He could have an injury, not be feeling well, or something else that he doesn’t want to reveal but makes him not ready to play. If a player goes out there and performs poorly because of that, then it hurts the team. Even in a blowout, allowing the other team to get back into it can drain morale.

The coach instead should talk to the player about what happened and why he didn’t want to come into the game. Odds are, something else is going on, and a punishment won’t help.

So should there be a consequence if a player refuses a coach’s order to enter a game? Or is dealing with that just a part of coaching? Have your say in the comments below.

From GameChanger and Todd Kortemeier

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