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Thon Maker protests FIBA's three-game ban for his role in Australia-Phillipines brawl

Milwaukee Bucks forward Thon Maker made his Australian national team debut last month. (Getty Images)

Milwaukee Bucks forward Thon Maker disagrees with Thursday’s three-game suspension for his role in this month’s brawl between Australia and the Philippines during a World Cup Asian Qualifiers game.

Maker was one of 13 players suspended by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) on Thursday, almost three weeks after a wild July 2 brawl that featured punches and chairs thrown by players and fans, respectively. Suspensions ranged from one to six games. Australia’s next three qualifying games for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China are slated for Sept. 13, Sept. 17 and Nov. 30, at which point games will continue to conflict with the NBA schedule. This all but eliminates Maker from qualifying play.

During the brawl, Maker can be seen dispensing a flying kick in the direction of a Filipino player:

On Thursday, Maker from cited self-preservation in his defense against FIBA’s decision:


“While remaining respectful of FIBA as a governing body for basketball with a duty to protect the integrity and sanctity of our game, I disagree with their decision to sanction me for three games,” the Sudanese-born Australian national wrote on Twitter. “I tried to break up a conflict, but without security things quickly devolved into a very dangerous situation where I needed to act to protect my teammates and myself from imminent harm. As a human being I cannot turn my back on anyone, Australian or Filipino, teammate or not, who is being attacked by a mob without the adequate help from security. I would like to focus on my continued preparation for the exciting upcoming season with the Milwaukee Bucks and move forward from this terrible event with a positive takeaway — a renewed appreciation for the importance of security personnel. They provide safety for all to enjoy the game we love, both as players and fans.”

Maker issued a similar statement about self-defense and security failures in the immediate aftermath of the incident. It took roughly 20 seconds for security to take control on the court, where Maker was during the altercation. A separate scrum spilled into an adjacent concourse, and the entire fracas, which was met with bottles and chairs thrown from the Filipino crowd, was settled inside of a minute.

One can only imagine the state of mind for someone at the center of a chaotic 55,000-seat arena.

Despite Maker’s protests, Basketball Australia chief executive Anthony Moore suggested the governing body does not have any plans to appeal the suspensions levied against three of the country’s players.

“As we stated at the outset, Basketball Australia sincerely regrets the incident,” he told the Associated Press. “We acknowledge the sanctions handed down against Australian players and acknowledge the sanctions imposed against Philippines players and officials involved in the incident. We are seeking further clarification from FIBA about possible sanctions against other officials and fans involved in the incident.”

Former NBA player Andray Blatche was one of 10 Filipino national players suspended as a result of the brawl, also receiving a three-game ban for his role. Two Filipino coaches were sanctioned as well.

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Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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