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Friday, November 19, 2004

It's not just the Jail Blazers

The gangsterization of professional basketball in the United States reached a new low tonight, when a game in Detroit between the hometown Pistons and the Indiana Pacers was called off prematurely in an effort to break up a dangerous brawl that had erupted between the Pacers and the Detroit fans.

It started with a blatant dirty foul by Pacer thug Ron Artest on Detroit forward Ben Wallace with less than a minute to play and Indiana comfortably ahead. Wallace charged Artest and slugged him, and the usual collision of pushing and shoving players ensued.

Artest is a jerk who really needs to find another job, but so far, it was just a typical basketball brawl. When he returned to the Indiana bench, however, a fan threw something at him. It looked like two ounces of beer in a plastic cup. It hit him in the chest as he lay on the scorer's table.

And that's where Mr. Artest did something totally, completely, utterly inexcusable.

He ran into the stands and cold-cocked a young guy. Apparently it wasn't the one who threw the cup, because the guy he hit was holding tightly onto his own beverage. When some of the nearby fans got into it, Artest whacked them pretty good, too. Then a few of his less intelligent teammates took it upon themselves to run up into the stands and help settle the score. Their behavior was not self-defense in any meaningful sense of that term. Chairs were eventually thrown. Pepper spray was brandished. People were hurt. At least one person was hospitalized. The game was called off.

Imagine what the young kids in that arena were feeling as they watched this unfold. Imagine me trying to explain this to my four-year-old daughter, who was watching it with me on television. Thanks, NBA, for another night of wholesome family fun.

Every single player who made contact with a fan should be suspended and fined for at least a third of the season. Anyone who actually threw a punch at a fan should sit out the rest of the season. Especially former Trail Blazer Jermaine O'Neal, who ran a good distance to take a serious shot to a fan's jaw (at 7:05 on this video) just as the fan was standing up after taking a punch from Artest. And Artest himself, who has been involved in many an anger control incident on the court over the years, should be banned from the NBA for life.

A two-month suspension would be too good for Artest. In fact, that's what he had the nerve to ask the team for last week -- time off to concentrate on his rap music record label. Looks like he figured out a way to get his leave of absence and blow off a little steam on a couple of little white boys' faces at the same time.

The commentators on ESPN should also get a good, swift kick in the pants. From their lofty perch in New York, they've kept themselves busy all night blaming "the despicable fans" who "provoked the brawl." Not having been there themselves, they speculate that some of the fans who had their lights punched out must have been yelling "racial slurs" at the Indiana players "throughout the night."

Of course some of the fans are at fault. The ones who committed assaults shoud be prosecuted for their crimes. (As should Artest, O'Neal and their teammates.)

But there is no excuse for a professional athlete to punch a spectator.

Ever. Ever, ever, ever.

Shame on the NBA. Shame on ESPN. What an embarassment to our country.

UPDATE, 11/20, 2:55 p.m.: Four players involved in the brawl have been suspended indefinitely, pending some sort of league review.

UPDATE, 11/21, 11:16 p.m.: The suspensions have been announced -- Artest the rest of the season, O'Neal 25 games, Pacer Stephen Jackson 30 games, Ben Wallace 6 games, several others a game or two. To me, it was a little on the light side, but at least the league acted swiftly and decisively.

Now comes the other stuff: the appeals from the players' union, the charges that league management is racist, yada yada yada. But let's hope there are some criminal prosecutions as well, both of fans and players. I saw Jermaine O'Neal commit felonious assault on national TV, and he reportedly also punched out another person off camera in the tunnel to the locker room.

BTW, the video I linked to above has been cut back, and so there's no "7:05" on it any more. But the whole thing can now be seen here.

Comments (42)

i think youre being too harsh on artest and far too lenient on the fan that started the whole thing.

think about it: if that one guy hadnt thrown the beer that game would have been over in less than two minutes.

most people can keep cool heads when a beer is thrown in their face, some cant.

artest is definately a unique individual who might not have the tolerance of you or me but at best i have to give equal "shame" on the dude who threw the beer (who later punched artest's head from behind) and the clowns who ran on the court to stop artest from leaving it (who then, rightfully, got hit by artest and o'neal).

even the detroit deputy police cheif said on espn that if someone throws a bottle or a chair or something at you, you have the right to defend yourself.

im with him.

i think that if no fines are given by the league it would be the best thing for the league because then fans will know that if they start something physical inside an arena it will be no different than if they do it outside the arena.

and i bet none of those detroit fans are throwing beers at 6'7" black dudes outside that arena.

How was he "defending himself"? Did he have any reasonable grounds to think that the person was going to throw anything else? Plus, how is it self-defense to hit the wrong guy? The kid he slugged was still holding on tightly to his own beer.

BTW, of course whoever threw that beer should have been arrested and prosecuted, regardless of whether it started a riot.

a man who throws a beer can just as easilly throw something else - and more likely to!

my question is, why is it that the people of detroit get to have beers at the end of the game? here in LA they cut you off at the end of the third quarter.

Artest is certfiable. He's a total nutcase. I was wondering how long it would take for him to go totally apeshit on someone.

I will agree that Artest is a nutcase. But just like in the baseball game earlier this year where the beer bottle was thrown at the player, it is ridiculous that fans think they have some right to treat professional athletes as though they are not human.

If someone came to your work Jack and threw beer on you, how would you react? I for one would respond by doing my damnest to beat the shit out of them, and I would like to think my co-workers would have my back on that.

Just because someone makes a lot of money doing something like playing basketball doesn't require them to check their human-ness at the door. They should not expect to be subjected to bullying by fans or anybody just because they are so-called professionals.

Also, your comment about them getting their licks in on some "white boys" seems a little unnecessary. If you hit me, the only color I'm seeing when I'm fighting back is red...

Finally, I'm not saying they should have ended up in the stands, but I am saying that I understand.

I for one would respond by doing my damnest to beat the shit out of them, and I would like to think my co-workers would have my back on that.

Really? How sad. Would you be sure to hit the right guy?

Would it matter that you started the fight? Would it matter that the person was a paying customer of the place where you worked? Would it matter that you were twice their size? Would it matter that you had a well-known anger problem and had assaulted others in the past?

Enjoy your NBA.

I don't think it is fair to say that Ron Artest started the fight. If somebody throws beer on you, that is in my opinion the action equivalent of "fighting words". Paying for your seat or any other service does not give you the right to abuse anybody -- not even if you are an affluent, white, front-row seat purchaser and there are black guys providing service to you who have done rapping in their spare time.

I meant, he started the fight with Ben Wallace.

Would it matter that you started the fight? Would it matter that the person was a paying customer of the place where you worked? Would it matter that you were twice their size? Would it matter that you had a well-known anger problem and had assaulted others in the past?

Your statement that you meant that Artest started the fight with Ben Wallace doesn't match up very well with anything you've said here...You were responding to my statement by noting how sad it is that I said I would be in a fight with someone who threw beer on me. Furthermore, Ben Wallace was not a paying customer, nor is he smaller than Artest etc.

If we were discussing Artest and Wallace's fight, this would have been a much different discussion.

You forgot to mention the team owners. Should they bear responsibility for picking the players? A scalable owner penalty might be a fine that matches the salary of the players who are denied the ability to play in future games. The higher the salary the higher the owner penalty. That might make them think twice when paying top dollar for thugs.

I still see visions (some time back) of Rasheed Wallace chasing a ball up a few steps then haphazardly swinging his arm in some sort of frustration known only to him and hitting a fan in the head in the process, from the side and slightly behind. This is still what I think of the Blazers; the vision thing.

Tony and Jon – if someone crosses the street outside of a crosswalk is that a license for a driver to run them over? You have got to keep some notion of proportionality in your support for fan smashing by the professional players. A jaywalker is asking for it too I suppose, just as if it were “fighting words” to openly defy the law and you were the enforcer. For Pete’s sake, Jon, what is your chosen penalty for scowling at you?

A couple years ago, I was at a Yankee game when late in the seventh inning, some knucklehead behind me threw a beer and hit me in the head. I spun around to see who did it, but of course it could have been anyone. So, did I run into the stands and just start punching the smallest person I could find. No, I sucked it up.

Ron Artest needed to just suck it up. Yeah, its unfortunate that he got hit with a plastic cup. But unless he was being threatened he needed to let it go.

That being said, as a 26 year old punk myself, that fight was the most entertaining thing I've seen in years.

When it becomes clear that Vince McMahon has a better idea of family entertainment than David Stern, it is time to turn the channel from the NBA. When Alonso Mourning thinks that the $ 4.2 million he got from the Nets for around 6 games last year entitles him to request that the Nets should pay him $ 13 million and release him to sign elsewhere because "it is owed to him", it is time to turn the channel.When Allan Iverson mocks the idea that he should be required to attend practice,its time to turn on the Food Channel.

At least Emiril seems happy. NBA players are angry, seem to reject authority and are generally indifferent to the fans. Why anybody would watch escapes me.

More than half the announcers are now saying it is the fan's fault. If you want to go to culpability, go back to Artest, if he didn't do the hard foul none of this would have started. If he didn't decide to charge the stands, then the rest of the melee could have been controlled.

Sorry, the NBA has been going easy on players (if you discount Latrell Sprewell strangling Carlesimo and getting a year suspension) for too long on this sort of stuff. I mean in Artest's head the risk/reward is something like - charge the stands and make an ugly scene. Risk - Suspension for a couple of games. Reward - Good promo for the record label, reprutation as nut job enforcer and ego boost.

If you really expect the NBA to do something tough, come on, they do not even have the guts to screen players for marijuana when they know two-thirds of the NBA are using.

I am sure Stern will come out with some marketing ploy to make the players look OK and boost attendance and blame the unruly fans.

BTW, this doesn't change my Blazer attendance - only if I can get free tickets.

While the "brawl" may have seemed entertaining to some (from afar), as sometimes Blazer gametime employee, the incident frightened me. That very scene could just as well happened here in Portland and would have taken place right where I sit during the games. I witnessed an almost-out-of-hand incident a few years ago when Rasheed Wallace and a referee almost literally came to blows, five feet away from me. I was ready to climb under the press table and hide.

My opinion on the riot is this: The stuff between Artest and Ben Wallace was part of the game and any reprecussions from that should have and would have remained within the league. Artest, however, no matter how much you might think the idot deserves it, should never go into the stand. He should have demanded security haul the guy's ass out of there and be 86'ed from NBA games (and that probably would have happened).

The only "fan," and I use that term as short for fanatic," that truly got what they deserved was the idiot who later came out onto the floor and tried to physically prevent Artest from leaving the arena with raised fists. At that point, it is a matter of defending yourself. And then that idiot got back up and tried to do it again?!?!? That is when O'Neal whacked the guy.

My guess is that Artest and Jackson (who followed Artest into the stands to beat on the erstwhile fan) will receive at least 20 game suspensions and heavy fines. O'Neal will receive at least a 10 game suspension and hefty fine. That's the boring part. Who knows what the Auburn Hills DA's office will do. They have extensive video coverage to review and could charge fans as well as players.

Oh, and I read an incisive quote from another NBA player at another arena, reacting to the riot by saying that there will be fans asking the NBA for lots of money from its deep pockets.


Your example of someone crossing the street outside a crosswalk as a parallel to someone anonymously throwing a beer at an NBA player in the midst of a fight among the players is thin if not absurd. I think you are in need of finding some proportionality in this situation.

What the fan did to Artest was nothing short of bullying. The coward anonymously stood in a crowd of 20,000 people and threw his beer at Ron Artest. This is something the fan would have never done standing toe to toe with Artest, but in this case he had three or four rows of fans between him and Artest, so like cowards and bullies do he took advantage of his superior position. And like he calculated, there were three or four rows of fans between him and Artest, and so there were innocent victims along the way, and Artest is made to be the villain.

Once again I have never said Artest should have gone into the stands. But I am saying that it is a feasible response in that situation for almost anyone. Artest should and will receive some kind of consequences, but in my view, the fan needs to be punished to the full extent of the law to send the message that it is not okay to be a fan and throw things at players. His action could well have resulted in a riot. Otherwise, we'll soon be watching sports in enclosed cages separate from the players because a few fans didn't get the message that they have a responsibility to treat players like they would like to be treated.

"What the fan did to Artest was nothing short of bullying."

If that's bullying, then you have lived a privileged life.

The AP story on this said the funniest thing: "Detroit's Rasheed Wallace and Indiana's David Harrison were also in or near the stands trying to break up the fights."

Rasheed, trying to break it up...?

I can not believe the heat, anger and angst the Pacers are receiving over what is clearly an on going HISTORY of they way Detroit has played, and even been encouraged to play, since the early 1980's!

A foul is a foul, end of story. If you do not believe that what may be one of the elite teams in the NBA this season is going to deliver a foul to the team that beat them last year in the conference championship game, and Detroit deserved that win I may add, then you are not watching the same league as the rest of the fans are this year.

For Ben Wallace to shove/hit Artest is a reasonable, yet unfortunately, illegal action for a player, any player as Detroit is FAMOUS for putting a player in just to deliver hard fouls, that should justly be punished. Do however; let the punishment fit the crime.

Detroit is responsible for security at the arena, period. For the situation to be blamed on the players, the fans too have a legal responsibility. One of the responsibilities is that you DO NOT GO ON TO THE FLOOR. That fan deserved every foot/pound of that punch he received. He had NO BUSINESS on the floor. Now I do not know if at his business, no doubt one of the finer in the metropolitan Detroit area, but I am guessing that if someone crapped in his house, he too would take action. He had no business on the floor and if Detroit’s finest is conducting the investigation with all due alacrity and detail to the facts of the fracas, then the results will clearly show that in no knowledgeable way was Indiana at fault for the actions of the few ignorant wannabe's in the stands.

Buying a ticket does not give you any authority to enter the playing area. This includes the bench area as well as the floor. For years Barkley had to endure the constant harassment of a fan sitting right behind him on the bench. Buying that ticket does not give you the right to interfere with the game. Ban the heckler, not those being harassed. We can stop terrorists at the border, these fans are nothing short of those we seek to stop.

It is an insult to punish the players for the actions of the fans. I would think it reasonable to resort to mans basic instint, fight or flight, and defends their saftey.

Indefinite suspension? Unreal.

I find it hard to believe that in the history of the NBA no player has ever had a drink splashed on them. Plus, Artest actually deserved it in this case. Ater soundly beating the home team, you don't commit a hard foul and then pretend to take a nap on the scorer's table in full view of the frustrated fans. That's just poor sportsmanship. It reminded me of when Terrell Owens put the football on the Dallas star after scoring a touchdown. Popcorn and liquid aren't a serious threat to a person, so why shouldn't Artest get showered at any future game this season in which the NBA allows him to play?

The fan was at fault. Period. The fans deserve what they got. Artest will be punished and deservedly so. But, Artest never threw a punch until he came back on the court and once a fan comes on the court and threatens a player I would call him fair game and stupid. Artest went up to the stands and grabbed the guy, maybe the wrong guy, and then other fans started hitting him and other players came into the stands either to fight or to try and break it up.

In this day and age sports fans think they can get away with anything and they shouldn't be able to think this. But people who want to pin the blame on the players are clearly not seeing the whole picture because it takes two to tango. Moreover, if Ben Wallace hadn't overreacted to a merely a hard foul none of this would have happened.

Have to disagree with Jack to the extent that he lays all the blame on the players, or at least the greatest majority of it. Yes, a player should never, never, never go into the stands after a fan. But a fan should never, never, never throw a full (or empty) cup onto the court, and certainly not directly at a player. Further, a spectator should absolutely not be entering the court during an intense brawl situation, and said spectator's presence in that place at that time should allow inferences into that person's intentions.

I don't think we can call this self-defense by Artest. Once the cup is thrown, what's left to defend against? But in a charged situation, adding to the fracas shouldn't be forgiven, and the fans should be held to account. If that cup hadn't been thrown, it is clear that Artest had run the course of his involvement, and the situation was de-escalating at that point.

I think it is fair to look at the fans who were punching Artest and Jones from behind and realize that those actions don't serve to remedy the situation, but instead to provoke more mayhem.

So, yes, the players should be suspended, and for a long time. A message has to be sent that the league and society won't condone what the players did. And, yes, the particular spectators involved should be prosecuted to the extent possible, and civilly acted upon if criminal action isn't available. But in a situation where the action would've ceased but for the actions of the spectators, they need to be held accountable, and to that extent ESPN and other commentators are right to make sure we don't get tunnel-vision on Artest (despite the fact that he is, indeed, certifiable), O'Neal, Wallace, Jackson, or anyone else directly involved.

Frankly, I'm tired already of all the bloviating (including Bill Walton)about this being "a new low" in the NBA. This was peanuts compared to what Portland's own Kermit Washington did to Rudy Tomjanovich 27 years ago when he sucker-punched him to within a millimeter of his life. If you haven't, read "Punch: One Night, Two Lives, and the Fight that Changed Basketball Forever," by John Feinstein. Geoff Petrie has called it "the single most serious event of that kind to ever happen in sports."

Granted, that was between players, but at least in the melee in Detroit, no one was seriously injured. Ugly, reprehesible, inexcusable, yes; but unfortunately, not a new low. Kermit Washington still holds the crown.

Disagree. This is worse than Kermit, in a way. I wouldn't call it a new low; I would call it a new kind of low. Kermit's case was worse in that it was a hideous act of maliciousness between one person and another. That punch was awful.

But the melee last night was worse in terms of the magnitude of the event and the potential harm. Have you actually watched the video? Jack's link is excellent, but time-consuming. Old ladies under the mosh-pit of rowdy brawlers, chairs flying, bottles (albeit plastic ones) hitting refs square in the face. It is an absolute miracle no serious injuries ensued.

These acts were both dumb-foundling ugly, but in different ways. To a degree it is apples and oranges trying to compare them, or rate them against eachother.

I'm just thankful we haven't quite reached the European Soccer Melee class (yet). I wouldn't be shocked if we got there in the not-too-distant future.

BTW, "bloviating" is a good word.

Isn't it ironic that Rudy T was born and raised in Detroit?

The cup was not full. Watch the video. It had about 2 ounces left in it.

Also, contrary to what it says in today's paper, when O'Neal took apart the fan's jaw, the fan was not "charging" anyone. He was getting up after having been punched in succession by Artest and what appears to have been a Pacers coach in a brown suit.

The fans were wrong. But Artest, Jackson and O'Neal were very, very, very, very wrong.

So we can't split the difference? If you average the no "very"'s assigned to the fans with the four that you've assigned to the players, we get two apiece... Then, everyone involved was "very, very" wrong.

The cup, 1/8 full or all-full, shouldn't have been thrown. It's unclear what height it was thrown from, so we don't know the force felt upon impact.

The fan that artest punched was coming down onto the floor. The fan that O'Neal punched was on the floor, not in the fan section, and I'd be curious to know why he was in front of the players' bench as opposed to behind it. Maybe innocent, maybe not. We can speculate either way, or just agree he was where a fan shouldn't be, especially given the incident happening on the playing floor.

The NBA is going down the tube fast. This incident is just one more indicator of that, when the indicators are everywhere. You know it's over when a US Olympic team with NBA players from top to bottom on its roster can't beat teams from other countries that have maybe one NBA player on it, if that. Think about that. Yeah I've heard all the excuses, so don't bother repeating them. They're all lame. And no, this isn't a troll either. The NBA lost me about 5 years ago. The NBA is over every which way there is.

I read "Punch." I do think that Friday's incident was worse than Washington/Tomjonovich. That was ugly and tragic, but it didn't appear premeditated by Washington. To see Jackson run up into the stands and begin punching what appears to be random fans is unbelievable. Watching fans get in slugs on the players from behind was also terrible. A riot is way worse than Washington's single punch, awful as it was.

I tend to agree with Jack that the players shoulder most of the blame. But the problem is deeper, or course. We as a society have lost almost all of our sense of civility and empathy, and Friday night is just a symptom of that. As a referee, I know that people in the stands even at little-kid levels believe that they have a right to hurl unlimited verbal abuse at anyone on the floor. It's not far from there to a cup of ice, and not far from there to running on the floor with fists raised. And remember--players are a part of that society.

For what it's worth, I'd like to see all players who entered the stands suspended until at least the new year. Artest and Jackson for longer. I'd like to see no punishment for decking the guy who ran onto the court--he was a legitimate threat. (Didja see him saying how much he was hurting to the ESPN cameras? What a punk-ass.) I'd like all fans who threw beer or punches prosecuted and banned from The Palace, and I'd like their game tomorrow against Charlotte played in an empty arena. But I'm not commissioner. Hell, I stopped watching the NBA about 9 years ago...all the isolation play is breathtakingly boring.

Just now on SportsCenter, Mark Jackson, Marc Schlereth, and Qadry Ismail unanimously blamed the players for the melee. All three talked about taking abuse as players, but emphasized that athletes have to be the bigger man and let security handle the losers in the stands.

Maybe a night's sleep straightened shifted their perspectives.

I watched back to back ESPN News interevieww with Mark Jackson. On the first one Mark blamed the fans, and the second one he blamed the players. It was odd.

In the first interview, he argued that having a beer thrown at you was a threat to your manhood and you had to defend yourself.

In the second interview, he said that no matter what happens, players need to control themselves, and a real man let's the authorities handle the problem.

I think he got a lot of sh-- after the first interview.

My take: If a fan comes onto the floor, whoop his ass. And if a player goes into the stands, whoop his ass.

I read a quote from Artest saying he was hit by a "glass" of beer. If that's true, the half-full, half-empty distinction is irrelevant. ESPN interviewed some idiot after everyone left the arena (I'm assuming a league or team official, but I didn't catch his name). He blamed Artest for lying on the scorer's table because the scorer's table is a "boundary" between players and fans, and it was too bad he violated the boundary, blah blah blah. Huh? As if somehow being on the court/bench would've protected him.

Football and basketball are different sports, and this certainly doesn't justify throwing anything at a player ever, but NFL players who score touchdowns on the road often have beer thrown at them. It's just a different culture in football.

Blame game:
Ben Wallace's fault for getting angry after not being hit that hard -- it's not like Artest's foul was a Shaq-style mauling. Fan's fault for the harm caused by the beer toss. Artest's fault for overreacting and possibly going after the wrong person (he could've returned the favor by throwing water/beer at the guy). Other players (Jackson, UO/Barlow High Alumnus Freddie Jones, others) were at fault for heading into stands at all. You can't blame a fan for fighting back after one of those guys started wailing on him. Stupid fan at fault for apparently challenging Artest on the court, leading to the punches. And what did Jamal Tinsley think he could accomplish by swinging that dustpan? Also, of course, team/league at fault for terrible security crew, which was outnumbered and ineffective.

Looks like our boy 'Sheed tried to stop the fight on the court, then he went into the stands to play peacemaker up there, at least from what I saw. Once again, this shows that he actually is a nice guy, albeit one who turns into a deranged psychopath the second his ego/temper switch is turned on. Amazing he didn't lose it in this situation.

"If someone came to your work Jack and threw beer on you, how would you react? I for one would respond by doing my damnest to beat the shit out of them"

Wow, Jon, if this is honestly your first response I think you may have some anger management issues. Someone throwing beer on you should not provoke violence. Remind me to never be in the same bar with you.

Alright Lawyers Wife and Jon,

We can settle this with a little experiment. LW please convince your Lawyer Husband to go to ten different bars where he can throw a beer in the face of ten different men he doesn't know (all bigger than him). If less than half of the beer splashees respond by punching him in the face, Jon should concede your point.

Actually more to the point;
If lawyer's wife does not regularly toss a tall cool one into anothers face as she is hittin the bars, I think she will be safe.

I am definitely not a Pacer fan, or Artest fan. I think he clearly has problems with conformity behavior.

I think he he could avoided everything by not taking a cheap foul on Wallace, up 15 with 49 seconds to go.

I think when he non-chalantly laid back on the scorer's table, he was further agitating the unscrupulous Piston fans that saw him attack their favorite player.

However, you still have to prevent your view in an unbiased way if you want any credibility. First off, it wasn't a tiny cup to the "chest." It was a large cup of beer that hit him directly in the face. Ever been hit in the face and not see it coming? It tends to startle you and put you on quick alert.

Second, Artest did not "cold cock" the fan in the black shirt. Yes he forcefully pushed him back into a seat and the ground, but Artest never threw a punch until he was actually punched.

The violent fans on the court deserved to get attacked, the same way fans on the gridiron get tackled by linebackers.

That said, keep all the suspensions.. but the worst act of all? HUNDREDS of insane Detroit citizens throwing dozens of objects from cups, to food, to HARD ICE CUBES at dozens of innocent players, officials, coaches, and security that are quite possibily locals and Pistons fans themselves.

I couldn't form harsh enough words of disgust for the rioting, thug mentality of that crowd. They should all be tracked down (quite easily on videotape) and suspended for years from returning to NBA events, and charged to the fullest extent of the law.

Its the same bunch of idiots that destroy city property (tax dollars at work) and personal vehicles to "celebrate" world championships.

In my opinion, that's where your vitriol should be fixated.

I think I'm basically with Jack here. In fact, from what I saw on the video, it looks like Stephen Jackson, Jermaine, and Artest all got off easy. I don't think it would've been unreasonable to ban Artest from the NBA for multiple years or life. He charged into the seats because he was hit with the equivalent of a moist paper towel.

If Artest was really interested in fighting to protect his safety or honor, he would've fought back more valiantly against Ben Wallace after the foul (but BW would likely pulpify Artest in a fight, so Artest feigned machismo with a little "Hold me back, man! Hold me back!"). If he was truly worried about his safety, he would've left the court ASAP when the fans started getting rowdy instead of wading into enemy territory. Someone truly concerned about being "disrespected" doesn't look to fight an innocent guy (still holding his beer) half his size.

That said, I think Artest had the right to defend himself when confronted on the court by the chubby fan in the white shirt/jersey. Jermaine showed his cowardice when he came flying out of nowhere to suckerpunch the chubby guy as he was getting up off the floor.

Basically, there wasn't enough security around the floor and the fans who threw food and drink were out of hand and should be cited/prosecuted. But that doesn't justify the truly obscene behavior of the players who waded up into the seats looking to beat some fans (or the fans who came down on the court). I'm interested to see what kind of legal prosecutions and lawsuits come from this. I hope the players and fans who sought out violence get nailed, hard.

If the players are going to be suspended, the fans in Detroit should be suspended as well. Throwing chairs, jumping on the court, flinging taunts, pouring beer and popcorn on the Pacer's heads as they headed to the locker room, all for a fight their player started. No basketball for anyone and everyone!

I miss Clyde. The only thing he would ever get showered with is standing ovations.

Compare the penalty for the NBA players to what might happen if a professional wrestler unloaded his anxiety on fans. It is almost a world of difference. The showmanship of professional wrestlers, and the encouragement of healthy fan participation in picking sides, makes for a comparatively tame option for family entertainment.

Ron artest is an idiot. I saw his interview today.This guy can't put a sentence together much less make a right or wrong decision. He should be thrown out of the league for good. He is not the only uneducated thug in the NBA.


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» Cagey Wallace gets just 6 games for worst possible actions from Slowplay.com
Our editor and NBA expert thinks the NBA dropped the ball. One of our contributors is convinced Suge Knight or the Wizard of Oz is involved in an elaborate hoax. But while Ron Artest has gotten the season-long gate, and Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O... [Read More]

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