From A. Sherrod Blakely:
"I don't have no excuses," Iverson said. "I apologized to my teammates, first and foremost, coaching staff, the organization and definitely our fans. It's something that shouldn't have happened. And it won't happen again."
[...] When asked whether it could be a hindrance moving forward, Iverson said, "it can be a problem, especially if it continues. I talked with my teammates. They let me know they're still with me. I let them know I'm with them. It was just a mistake, something that shouldn't have happened. I'm totally responsible for it. It's unacceptable and I have to deal with it, and move on."
Tayshaun Prince said the team accepted Iverson's apology and is ready to move on.
"It's a situation where he (Curry) penalizes you for it, and fines you or whatever, and we're just going to move on and act like it didn't even happen," Prince said. "We're going to take care of it right then and there, but after that it's history. And hopefully, y'all do the same thing."
If it was any other player on the roster who decided to stay home, I wouldn't care. But the fact remains that the only reason the team needed the practice was to get more familiar with AI. It's like planning a birthday party for your best friend, and at the last second your friend decides he has other plans. Yeah, you can still have the party and eat the cake, but why bother? Prince gave a diplomatic answer, but when has Prince not given one?
Also, you've probably heard talk about Michael Curry levying a "hefty fine" -- it's still being teased in the headline on the front page of ESPN -- but it's not going to happen. Article VI, Section 2 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement states:
Section 2. Practices.
(a) When a player, without proper and reasonable excuse, fails to attend a practice session scheduled by his Team, he shall be subject to the following discipline: (i) for the first missed practice during a Season -- $2,500; (ii) for the second missed practice during such Season -- $5,000; (iii) for the third missed practice during such Season -- $7,500; and (iv) for the fourth (or any additional) missed practice during such Season -- such discipline as is reasonable under the circumstances.
(b) Notwithstanding Section 2(a) above, when a player, without proper and reasonable excuse, refuses or intentionally fails to attend any practice session scheduled by his Team, he shall be subject to such discipline as is reasonable under the circumstances.
For a guy who makes nearly $22 million a year, $2,500 is ashtray money -- it's the equivalent of an everyday joe making $40,000 a year being fined $4.56.
In other words, "hefty" = $2,500 = "not hefty at all." Sure, the Pistons will bench AI for the start of tonight's game, but even that's a mere slap on the wrist. Curry left open the possibility that Iverson might not play at all, but why bother? It's not like the Pistons can withhold a game check ($267,530), so the only people that would actually punish are the 22,076 people in the stands who paid to see AI play.