As we check in with some of our friends around the Atlantic 10, we stumble upon this… um, “gesture”. St. Joseph’s junior forward Halil Kanacevic has been suspended for two games following a situation against Villanova on Tuesday night in which he buried a go-ahead three in the second half, then extended his middle finger towards the ‘Nova student section on his way back up the court. Phily.com has a good description of the incident:
With just under 10 minutes left in the Saint Joseph’s-Villanova game, Kanacevic made a three-pointer from the top of the key to give his team a three-point lead. As he backed down the court facing the Villanova students, he raised three fingers in the air. Then, he lowered two of them.
(For those interested, our friends at Sports Illustrated have a NSFW picture of the incident here.)
What a good sport, right? Well St. Joe’s didn’t think so. The University suspended Kanacevic for the next two Hawks games, a showdown versus Fairfield on December 22nd and a December 28th game against Iona. Phil Martelli’s bald head weighed in on the issue:
“There is no place for obscene gestures or personal outbursts directed at anyone,” Martelli said. “We have always sought to conduct ourselves in a respectful manner to our university and to our opponents, and this behavior was unacceptable and inexcusable, even in the heat of the moment.”
Kanacevic is a transfer from Hofstra, and he’s always had a reputation of being kind of a hot-head who’s not afraid to speak his mind in interviews. But clearly this time he went too far, and now he won’t be able to play in a game until December 31st. In fact, he’s banned from all team activities for the next week, with the exception of the St. Joe’s annual Christmas event for charity. Kanacevic did issue an apology:
“My actions were wrong and embarrassing and I strongly regret them,” he said. “I made a mistake and I accept total responsibility for my behavior. I am sorry for the harm caused to my teammates and coaches and my actions were unbecoming of a member of our community. I sincerely apologize to both universities and to everyone who saw the game.”
The basketball gods didn’t let this one slide, though. Kanacevic stepped to the line with under a minute left in the game and St. Joe’s up one. He then proceeded to brick two huge free throws, and a turnover with just seconds remaining sealed a Hawks collapse as they fell 63-61 at ‘Nova. To his credit, Kanacevic finished with a whole four points. That’s right – in addition to the middle-finger-worthy three, he scored exactly one more point. Oh karma, don’t ever change.