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Unclebuck
04-20-2005, 10:51 AM
http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050420/SPORTS04/504200413/1088

This team owes its superstar an apology

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The night will be overflowing with warmth and fuzziness, awash in kind words and fond memories. The Pacers, a model franchise until this most recent season, will send Reggie Miller out with class and dignity. And Miller, a model player and teammate all the way to the end, will say all the right things, and remind us why he's the most special athlete ever to come through Indianapolis.

What won't be said, though, needs to be said, at least by somebody:

The Pacers -- from the top of management down to some of Miller's teammates -- have absolutely done Miller dirty with their indecision, poor judgment and general immaturity throughout this strange and uneven season.

It's like this:

Miller, who thought about retiring after last season, should have been given every opportunity to win a title in his final season.

But Larry Bird, who knew he dodged a bullet last season with Ron Artest and understood his talented but troubled star needed to be moved sooner rather than later, could not and did not get it done.

The result, then, came as no surprise.

From the moment Ron Artest made that fateful decision to respond to a plastic cup by running into the stands Nov. 19 in Auburn Hills, Mich., Miller's chance for a championship was doomed.

The blue-and-gold true believers will continue to believe their own fiction. They will continue to blame it all on Ben Wallace. They will continue to blame it on the knucklehead whose eerily accurate cup toss hit Artest. They will continue to blame commissioner David Stern, who did the only thing he could do if he was serious about maintaining his league's credibility. If they could, they would blame it all on Bob Lanier and Dave Bing.

Granted, nobody covered themselves with glory on the night that introduced us to the term "vomitorium." But in the end, it was up to the Pacers to stay above the fray, and instead, they got down in the muck, threw punches and brandished dustpans and let a couple of drunks destroy not only their championship season, but Uncle Reggie's final chance for a title.

Do I hear any apologies?

Publicly, I've heard none.

Maybe there's been a private moment when Artest or somebody else has gone to Miller and said, "Reg, we're sorry about how this all came down. You deserved better."

But I doubt it.

Now, if you're waiting for Miller to bring up that subject, it's going to be a long, fruitless wait. This guy is not only one of the game's great scorers and leaders, but he's one of the greatest teammates in professional sports. He has not once suggested, publicly or privately, he was betrayed by management and a handful of players this season.

But I'll say it.

The fact is, Miller, one of the last loyal men in sports, should not be playing in tonight's regular-season finale for a chance to finish sixth in the Eastern Conference rather than seventh. (Against Boston, they have a puncher's chance. Against Detroit, they have no chance, although the TV ratings should go through the roof.)

This isn't why he came back for one more season.

And yet even as the season began circling the drain in the weeks and months after the brawl, it was Miller who re-emerged as Indiana's most dominant player, its ultimate pro. He could have gone in the tank and wondered aloud why he didn't go someplace else to chase a championship; that's what everybody else does, right? Instead, Miller started playing like it was 1999, willing this team to the playoffs, even if they're currently limping to the finish.

"I feel like I've won the lottery," he said after a win over the Nets ensured a playoff spot.

Now, as he leaves the scene -- in a week, maybe two -- we are left to wonder where the Pacers are supposed to find their next Miller.

We know it's not Artest. We know it's not Stephen Jackson, who can be great one night and a hopelessly immature hothead the next. We know it's not Jamaal Tinsley or Jonathan Bender. (Remember them?)

Clearly, Jermaine O'Neal will be the face of the franchise, but there's still some question whether he can be its heart and soul. He says all the right things, and most of the time he does the right things. But there is still the hint of the diva in him. He still has too many moments when he -- gasp -- acts his still-tender age of 26. O'Neal has grown tremendously, both physically and mentally, since he arrived here, so he, more than anybody on the roster, has a chance to recall Miller as a leader and a teammate.

But not yet.

So Uncle Reggie gets to say one of his last goodbyes tonight, and the Pacers need to pray it's after a victory over the Bulls, which would give them a shot at Boston rather than Detroit. What won't be said, though, is the one thing that should be said, whether it's public or in private.

Simply this:

We're sorry.

Slick Pinkham
04-20-2005, 11:06 AM
I'd be very surprised if Larry and Donnie haven't spoken to Reggie in PRIVATE and expressed regret that they had not traded the ticking time bomb when they had the chance, expressed appreciation for his leadership, and asked him his opinion on whether Ron Artest is salvageable.

They must be gathering opinions on whether teammates want Ron back or not. They are not stupid.

They should never hint at that line of inquiry publicly, but they had better be asking all of the leaders in the locker room near-past, present, and near-future about the relative risk-reward of having Ron around, if you presume that he cannot help from reverting to the nutcase he has been for years now.

Harmonica
04-20-2005, 11:08 AM
The only person who owes Reg an apology is Ron, if he hasn't already. He owes the team, the organization and the fans an apology as well. I haven't heard one as of yet, but maybe I missed it.

As for this comment:


But Larry Bird, who knew he dodged a bullet last season with Ron Artest and understood his talented but troubled star needed to be moved sooner rather than later, could not and did not get it done.

They tried, Bob, they tried. Not once, but on at least three separate occasions. Management's only mistake or miscalculation, in hindsight, was that they tried to get equal value for him, although if the Peja trade had gone through, there would be people here who would argue that we did get the lesser deal—I wouldn't have been one of them.


The blue-and-gold true believers will continue to believe their own fiction. They will continue to blame it all on Ben Wallace. They will continue to blame it on the knucklehead whose eerily accurate cup toss hit Artest. They will continue to blame commissioner David Stern, who did the only thing he could do if he was serious about maintaining his league's credibility. If they could, they would blame it all on Bob Lanier and Dave Bing.

Kravitz obviously lurks here.

ChicagoJ
04-20-2005, 11:12 AM
I think they owe him one privately, for the exact reasons Harmonica mentioned. They wanted "equal value" for Ron but they were, in fact, overestimating Ron's real "fair market value".

Kstat
04-20-2005, 11:14 AM
Maybe the best-written article I've read from the Star all season long. I may pull an "Anthem" and write him a letter TELLING him how great his article was.....

Reggie4Three
04-20-2005, 11:17 AM
No. The entire article is really stretching.

Unclebuck
04-20-2005, 11:20 AM
I would bet money that Ron has apologized to Reggie. No need to make that public.

Yes I'm sure if the Pacers had traded Artest for Bonzi wells the Pacers would be on their way to a championship, No doubt about it. Kings turned down the Peja for artest trade.

I would be willibng to bet that Reggie would say that he was willing to take the chance with Artest then to gamble without Artest.

beast23
04-20-2005, 11:25 AM
Kravitz' tone really frosts me. He seems to think that he has a god-given right to publicly hear everyone's apologies. And, if he hasn't read the apologies in the press, or hasn't seen them on the tube, well what the hell, then they obviously didn't take place.

What a jackass!

He doesn't seem to acknowledge that apologies are usually very private things, and that no one likes to publicly admit in front of anyone other than the wronged individual that he/she has basically f***ed up.

I've actually seen a JO interview where JO has stated that Reggie's teammates have let him down and that the most important thing to him to help make it up to Reggie is to make certain that the Pacers make the playoffs and perform as best they can.

Without using the words "I'm sorry", I certainly took that as an acknowledgement of blame and an apology.

As far as I'm concerned, if Kravitz can't begin to temper some of his articles with positive sentiment every now and then, he can get the hell out of Dodge. I'm not saying that he has to give me an ice cream enema, but jeez he's one of the more negative writers I've read.

Harmonica
04-20-2005, 11:37 AM
I would be willing to bet that Reggie would say that he was willing to take the chance with Artest then to gamble without Artest.

I don't think that's a bet you should make.

rabid
04-20-2005, 11:54 AM
I think Kravitz owes ME an apology for wasting five minutes of my day with that smug crap.

Anthem
04-20-2005, 12:30 PM
Kravitz' tone really frosts me. He seems to think that he has a god-given right to publicly hear everyone's apologies. And, if he hasn't read the apologies in the press, or hasn't seen them on the tube, well what the hell, then they obviously didn't take place.

Agreed. Peck, you ask why the local fans haven't bonded with this team? Crap like this doesn't help.

And I'm not talking about the "Ron Apology" stuff.... I'm talking about "Everybody else on the team is worthless" stuff.

:kravitz:

Shade
04-20-2005, 12:35 PM
I think the Star owes us an apology for having hired Kravitz, and for continuing to print his soapbox drivel. :tongue:

MSA2CF
04-20-2005, 12:46 PM
Simply put, BK's article is bologna. Foolishness, most of it.

Kegboy
04-20-2005, 01:08 PM
I find it morbidly funny that Kravitz says we shouldn't blame Stern, but Reggie himself has come out and said as much in at least two national interviews. I'd get on Bob's case for not doing his research, but it's not like he's a real journalist, or anything. :rolleyes:

As for UB's Bonzi Wells statement, I thought the same thing. I've seen potted plants with a higher IQ than Kravitz.

heywoode
04-20-2005, 01:11 PM
Well, I thought I'd wait to read some more comments in this thread before I stated my opinion. What follows is the email I sent to BK and also copied to the 'Letter to the Editor' section at IndyStar.

It should be stated that this is my opinion, and that I'm not trying to convince anyone else that I'm right. I agree that there are multiple points of view about this matter and that many of them have a very good foundation for being taken as correct.

Here it is:

Bob,

I’ve never felt the need to respond personally to a piece of journalism before but this one just begs for my opinion.

I couldn’t disagree with you more. Nobody could have foreseen the events in Detroit. Our franchise and its players and management always have been and will continue to be the model for others to follow.

The Palace has always been widely regarded as the most raucous place to play and will continue to hold that title for many years to come. I won’t even go into the reputation and statistical significance that the city of Detroit has earned. Ben Wallace and the idiot who threw the cup are the final scapegoats in the entire situation and I think that most people would agree with me. I’m not speaking for anyone other than myself, however.

David Stern did what he thought he had to do, but his logic was flawed as well. He responded to an unprecedented set of events and he did what a dozen or more others did, he made a mistake. Ron Artest is in that category as well; he responded to an unprecedented set of events and he made a mistake. He did nothing until provoked several times in ways that don’t normally happen, or before that night, had NEVER happened.

My personal opinion is that we expect way too much from the players. They are human beings first and celebrities, athletes, superstars, role models (pick your appropriate label) second. It is useless to think that because they make millions of dollars that they have some responsibility to be role models or examples for the rest of us to follow. You don’t see CEO’s or others in the same income bracket forced into the kind of public scrutiny that athletes are subjected to.

The volatile situation that developed and led to meltdown could not be duplicated in almost any other workplace or situation. I don’t know how you would feel having to perform for 15,000 people every day but I can guess that the daily scrutiny (and I haven’t even addressed the scrutiny of the media helping churn the boiling pot) would get cumbersome really quick. Put all that together and then have yourself get physically assaulted by a two handed shove to the THROAT, then get stuff thrown at you by the same player who hasn’t been ejected and is still acting like a wild animal, then get doused with a full beer cup (who cares if was plastic?) from twenty feet away and tell me what you would do….I personally feel that Jermaine O’Neal and Stephen Jackson did WAY worse things than Artest did. Artest had the book thrown at him for being Artest and that is the plain and simple truth of it all.

There are so many things to consider in all of this that I think your article expressing an apology to Reggie was in poor taste, especially given the timing of its publication. Today is a day to remember the POSITIVES that make us all love the Pacers and Reggie Miller.

One way or the other, there comes a time when we all must move on past an unsavory episode we have had to go through. It seems to me that, YET AGAIN, the only people that refuse to let go of the brawl incident are journalists that can’t seem to find anything else positive to do with their time. If the brawl had never happened, this team would have met with serious obstacles to a championship anyway. With all the injuries we have had this season, who’s to say that we would’ve had the world on a string? This season has been tumultuous for a great number of reasons, ONE of which is that brawl. For pete’s sake, let it go and start writing stuff worth reading.

As for the apology you made to Reggie, speak for YOURSELF. We in Pacer Nation owe Reggie one thing, our eternal gratitude for being such a class act and great competitor. Nothing more, nothing less.

Indyfan
04-20-2005, 01:29 PM
Nicely written heywoode, unfortunately I can't imagine it making an impression on Kravitz. Be sure to post any response you get, I'm curious what it would be.

I agree this is bad timing and it is time to let it go. Kravitz is so set on proving Larry and Donnie killed our season by keeping Ron (when we know they tried to move him, but couldn't even come close to his value) that I would like to see what he will write should Ron come back a changed man and lead us with JO to the championship.

Kravitz loves controversy and that is his whole purpose when he writes about the Pacers. I don't give it much value though, there are better ways to go about it.

rushmore
04-20-2005, 01:51 PM
I think if anyone owes Reggie an apology for not winning a title, it's Jordan. Or, maybe Larry Johnson.

grace
04-20-2005, 01:52 PM
I think the Star owes us an apology for having hired Kravitz, and for continuing to print his soapbox drivel. :tongue:

:applaud:

RWB
04-20-2005, 02:06 PM
No Bob, I believe the Pacers have compensated Reggie Miller well during his time here. They have NO reason to apologize.

P.S. Thanks Regg.

aceace
04-20-2005, 04:03 PM
Kravitz is somewhat clueless at times. Heywoode,Harmonica,UB have pretty much said it. This is a hindsight 20/20 article. After last season I had decided that RA had cleaned up his act. We as a group of fans really do not know RA the person. If DW & LB tried to trade him what do they owe anyone. If anyone owes anybody an apology its Stern for misleading the Pacer fans.

Slick Pinkham
04-20-2005, 04:12 PM
Ron Artest is in that category as well; he responded to an unprecedented set of events and he made a mistake. He did nothing until provoked several times in ways that don’t normally happen, or before that night, had NEVER happened.

:rolleyes:

Ron ran into the stands after someone threw a cup of beer on him.

If every athlete ran into the stands after being hit by beer or a beer cup, there would be dozens of brawls a year.

Unruly fans throw things. That is unfortunate, but NOT unique or particularly unusual.

Methinks you see the NBA through blue and gold glasses.

Since86
04-20-2005, 04:16 PM
The only person who owes Reg an apology is Ron, if he hasn't already. He owes the team, the organization and the fans an apology as well. I haven't heard one as of yet, but maybe I missed it.

You must of missed it. He did shortly after the suspensions were handed down.

Since86
04-20-2005, 04:17 PM
If every athlete ran into the stands after being hit by beer or a beer cup, there would be dozens of brawls a year.


Because we all see beers getting thrown on players quite frequently. :rolleyes:

heywoode
04-20-2005, 04:21 PM
:rolleyes:

Ron ran into the stands after someone threw a cup of beer on him.

If every athlete ran into the stands after being hit by beer or a beer cup, there would be dozens of brawls a year.

Unruly fans throw things. That is unfortunate, but NOT unique or particularly unusual.

Methinks you see the NBA through blue and gold glasses.

Thanks for the constructive criticism pacertom....

Well, I may be naive or maybe I just haven't seen enough games (in the last 10-15 years) but I've NEVER seen someone get doused with a beer.....Maybe some debris on the court after a particularly tough loss but never during a game and never after the events that led up to it....

I do see the NBA through blue & gold glasses, but that doesn't mean that I can't SEE. It doesn't take a Pacer fan to see what I see....

McKeyFan
04-20-2005, 05:09 PM
I think this is just lazy writing by Kravitz.

Instead of digging deep and finding some real substance to write on this week, he retreated to an old, tired story and that he knew would get some knee-jerk reaction.

I'm not impressed.

Will Galen
04-20-2005, 05:12 PM
I don't read Kravitz unless it's by mistake. I read about two paragraphs this morning and realized who the writer was and quit. He's not a writer that gives new information, he's not at all insightful, all he does is give his opinion which is almost always negative.

Destined4Greatness
04-20-2005, 05:17 PM
I said it once and I'll say it again. A five year old girl who hates basketball. Could write better NBA articles.

3ptmiller
04-20-2005, 05:27 PM
:blahblah:

Peck
04-20-2005, 05:38 PM
You all do understand that the madder you get the more you talk about it the more Bob has done his job?

Now you may disagree with the way you perceive his job, but his job is to get you talking about what he has to say.

So if you wanna guarantee that he never leave the paper keep writing him letters saying how much you disagree with what he has to say & thus confirming to his publisher that you are reading every word he has to say.

SoupIsGood
04-20-2005, 05:48 PM
I haven't read a Bob article in what seems like eons...

Not starting now. :p

Suaveness
04-20-2005, 06:13 PM
I think the Star owes us an apology for having hired Kravitz, and for continuing to print his soapbox drivel. :tongue:

That I can agree with :laugh:

NorCal_Pacerfan
04-20-2005, 06:55 PM
Not much to add, but I will say that Kravitz' timing is just off. He writes this NOW? He's a fool. Now is when we all should be praising Reggie for his 19 years of glorious pro ball.

Thank you Reggie, for existing in our world.

Natston
04-20-2005, 06:59 PM
I think we should all stop talking about this, because of what Peck has already posted. :unimpress Or least post our thoughts in white...

Arcadian
04-20-2005, 07:42 PM
The best part about football season is that there are no Kravitz articles on the Pacers.

heywoode
04-21-2005, 02:20 AM
I feel stupid after reading Peck's post....You're absolutely right......:rolleyes: :blush: :cool:

Anthem
04-21-2005, 02:28 AM
Anybody see the fallout from Sheffield? Not only was he not punished, the commish went out of his way to commend him for his restraint.

Slick Pinkham
04-21-2005, 08:35 AM
Well, I may be naive or maybe I just haven't seen enough games (in the last 10-15 years) but I've NEVER seen someone get doused with a beer.......

It is rather uncommon in basketball, but a regular occurance in baseball, hockey and football.

I'm kind of an oldtimer. I remember in 1975 when Pete Rose moved from left field to third base, he joked that now every time he went to New York only the people with really good arms would be able to hit him with stuff. He was regularly pelted with debris by left field fans in Mets stadium due to a fight he had with Mets second baseman Bud Harrelson yars before.

Yankees fans routinely throw stuff at Red Sox outfielders. Notice last week the fan in Fenway tossing a beer a Gary Sheffield. The fans in Cleveland's "dog pound" and in the end zone in Green Bay are notorious for pelting opposing players with stuff if they celebrate too much or just simply get too close.

I am not old enough to remember the days when basketball players were called "cagers" because in old gyms the stands were separated from the court by chicken wire (the court was "caged" in) to restrain the fans from fighting with the players. I know that it's true though.

Very little that happens hasn't happened somewhere before.

If Sheffield had gone into the stands, other fans would have responded, and it would have been Auburn Hills all over again. Sure a little security guard got in the way, but if Sheffield had wanted to, he could still have gotten to the guy and "pulled an Artest" but he showed restraint that Ron lacked.

ABADays
04-21-2005, 09:18 AM
You must of missed it. He did shortly after the suspensions were handed down.

He did!?! I sure don't remember anything.

heywoode
04-21-2005, 10:11 AM
I was watching the Red Sox-Yankees game and what happened to Sheff wasn't even CLOSE to what happened to Ronnie....

I'm sure this was debated long and hard after the brawl happened, so no point in getting back into it now and boring everyone to death. We can respectfull agree to disagree on this.....

Slick Pinkham
04-21-2005, 11:03 AM
personally I think getting poked in the face with someones elbow or hand is worse than getting plunked with an empty plastic SOLO cup,

but I guess we can just disagree.

I wasn't trying to compare the levels of the incidents, I was merely describing how I feel that it is not unique and in fact not even uncommon for athletes (not just NBA players) to have to deal with the issue of fans throwing things at them or interfering with them.

Most players don't blow up and go into the stands to fight or throw a chair like the Texas Rangers player did in the bullpen last year.

Describing Ron's situation as being one that has never happened before was a characterization that I felt needed to be challenged. Having done so, I move on...

:twocents:

Anthem
04-21-2005, 11:09 AM
Anybody see the fallout from Sheffield? Not only was he not punished, the commish went out of his way to commend him for his restraint.

Slick Pinkham
04-21-2005, 11:26 AM
I thought that he might get a fine for shoving the fan.

Did anyone expect more?

You can bet that if he went into the stands, he would have got the same penalty as the Rangers pitcher who tossed a chair at a fan-- out for the season.

Chambizzle
04-21-2005, 01:10 PM
As for the Sheffield incident... This wasn't even close to being like the brawl. The fan PHYSICALLY assaulted Gary Sheffield with a punch to the mouth. He didn't throw a beer.. he threw a hook and changed the outcome of the game because of his drunken stupor.

I think it would have been a totally different situation if a fan actually walked up to Artest and punched him for no reason. Lot of difference between a fist and a cup of beer.

I would have had no objections against Sheffield clobbering the stupid fan who decided to cross the line between fan and player. Nor would I have any objections to Artest beating the hell out of a pistons fan who decided to walk up and slug a player. I don't agree with the actions taken in the Palace by either teams, but if it was like the scenario in Boston I doubt Artest would have been suspended for the whole season.

There's a thin line between correct courses of action and overreactions.

P.S. Kravitz's article gave me a mild case of brain damage.. I don't see why it didn't come with a disclaimer. Thanks PASERZ DYGEZT *slurring words*

Anthem
04-21-2005, 02:24 PM
I thought that he might get a fine for shoving the fan.

Did anyone expect more?

Nope, but I also didn't expect a commendation from the commish, especially when Sheffield said he'd have gone into the stands except he didn't want the kind of punishment Ron got.

Since86
04-21-2005, 02:24 PM
He did!?! I sure don't remember anything.


Right after the suspensions were announced, along with JO, Jax, and AJ. The sites that I visited yesterday to double-check only had pieces of their statements, with Ron's mostly concentrating that he didn't agree with Stern but respected his position.

heywoode
04-21-2005, 02:51 PM
I couldn't really say with certainty that the fan took an uppercut at Sheff. He made a weird motion, but he was being all sly and trying to make it not look like that's what he was doing if, in fact that's what he was doing. I can't say conclusively whether he was NOT being malicious either, so 'point taken' there....The way he reacted when Sheffield shoved him and then again when Sheffield turned back around after throwing in the ball made it seem to me like, in the fans mind, it was incidental contact or maybe even simply a close call....He seemed very surprised that Sheffield was upset at all. If you had known that you just suckered some guy while the ball was in play, you'd be expecting some kind of reaction. That's what's got me thinking about it....That and Sheffield is an a$$. It's not like he's Mr. Apple Pie, Johnny Baseball.....