The Brooklyn Nets became the first team to be disciplined by the NBA for violating the league’s player participation policy Thursday and were fined $100,000 for sitting four players for the team’s Dec. 27 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. 

The league issued a press release announcing the fine after an investigation that found the four players benched — Spencer Dinwiddie, Nic Claxton, Cam Johnson and Dorian Finney-Smith — could have played under the new policy’s medical standard. 

“Following an investigation, including review by an independent physician, the NBA determined that four Nets rotation players, who did not participate in the game, could have played under the medical standard in the Player Participation Policy, which was adopted prior to this season,” the statement said.

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“The organization’s conduct violated the Policy, which is intended to promote player participation in the NBA’s 82-game season.”

During his postgame press conference, Nets coach Jacque Vaughn was questioned about treating the matchup like an “exhibition game.” 

“I have too much respect for the dudes that suit up and put their body on the line and the competition level to even mention the word exhibition,” Vaughn said. “Any guy could’ve ended their career tonight by one play. And I treated it as such.” 

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The Nets lost the game 144-122 and lost four straight. 

They are 2-10 in their last 12 games to fall to 15-20 overall and ninth in the Eastern Conference.

The new policy, implemented before the start of the season, focuses on players categorized as anyone who has been an All-Star or on the All-NBA team in any of the prior three seasons. Only one player under those guidelines can be made unavailable per game. 

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“It’s a shared view by everyone in the league, it’s not just coming from the league office,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in September. 

“I think whether it’s our teams, our players association, individual players, I think there’s an acknowledgment across the league that we need to return to that principle that this is an 82-game league. … I think there’s a statement of principle that if you’re a healthy player in this league, the expectation is that you’re going to play.” 

Any teams in violation of the policy, like the Nets, will be fined $100,000 for a first infraction. The second will draw a $250,000 fine and each successive violation will increase by $1 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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