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View Full Version : Wilbon, Wash Post: Jermaine hit a cop, and his troubles are only beginning; sentences too light



Slick Pinkham
11-22-2004, 11:36 AM
linked through hoopshype--

sorry no url

Justice Is Swift, Sure, But Perhaps Too Light

By Michael Wilbon
Monday, November 22, 2004; Page D01

Ron Artest wanted some time off to promote his new CD, to try to help his girl group go platinum, and now he's got it. Artest has the month he had asked for, the month after that, the month after that and every month for the rest of this season. For charging into the stands in Detroit on Friday night and turning what could have been only an on-court scuffle into a riot, Artest was hit with a rest-of-the-season suspension by NBA Commissioner David Stern that is not only just but necessary.

It's too bad Stern stopped at 30 games for Artest's Indiana teammate Stephen Jackson, who should have been kicked out for the rest of the season, too. Whatever Artest got, Jackson should have received -- plus one game. Jackson didn't get hit in the face with a cup and he wasn't provoked when he went into the stands. And when Jackson got there, he didn't try to restrain Artest. He didn't seek to make peace or restore order. Jackson went in swinging his fists. Artest, while his defense for going into the stands is weak, at least has one.




Jackson has no defense and probably got off comparatively lightly, as did Jermaine O'Neal, whose most egregious work might not have been captured on videotape. O'Neal, according to sources familiar with the ongoing criminal proceedings in suburban Detroit, is being investigated for allegedly having hit a police officer during the brawl. So just because the NBA gave O'Neal 25 games doesn't mean that's all he might get for his role in the melee.

But Artest gets the stiffest penalty because he has a history of being at the center of trouble. While his foul on Ben Wallace, which precipitated the whole thing, was a ticky-tack hack unworthy of being called flagrant, the fact is Wallace overreacted because it was Artest who fouled him, because everywhere Artest has been the last few seasons he has brought trouble with him. Remember when Michael Jordan's second comeback was delayed for a couple of months? It was because his ribs had been injured by Artest in a summer pickup game. While he has been a troubled soul since childhood and acknowledged his need for counseling, he has also acted willfully as a grown man. In effect, Artest is simply reaping what he has sown.

Stern admitted as much when he said during an appropriately grim news conference at Madison Square Garden last night, "I did not strike from my mind the fact that Ron Artest has been previously suspended for the loss of self-control."

Artest's rest-of-the-season suspension is essentially a third-strike punishment, or in Artest's case, a fifth strike. By now, everybody knows Artest charged into the stands and grabbed the wrong guy. He ran right past the person who had hit him with the cup, underscoring the point that players cannot run into the stands. That was what Stern had to hammer home with his suspensions and in his first public comments last evening. While 50 games might have been more appropriately punitive for Jackson and O'Neal, Stern probably did enough to back up his contention that "we cannot tolerate a repetition of what occurred Friday night in Detroit. Players cannot lose control and go into the stands."

The commissioner essentially issued a warning when asked about the possibility of another such brawl happening, he said, "Whatever doubt there was [among players], the line is drawn and my guess is it won't happen again." And he followed that by saying of fans, "Maybe we have to lose some fans, and that's all right with me."

And there was the obligatory talk about beefing up security, as if 50 more armed guards could have stopped somebody from throwing beer on a player.

Stern sounded all the right notes, including when asked about the possibility players will be separated from fans by some sort of barrier. "I would like it not to come to that," he said. "That would be an unacceptable result." He even addressed cutting off beer sales earlier in the games, but given the amount of money the beer companies have invested in the NBA and its television partners, I'll believe that when I see it. Still, cutting off beer sales at halftime would go a long way toward making sitting through a game tolerable.

But sounding all the right notes and actually repairing what's wrong with his league right now are two different things. It's not just the NBA, of course. Baseball had its chair-throwing, players-in-the-stands incident in Oakland during a key division game. NHL fans are disgusted that they have no season, while more than 200 players have gone off to play in European leagues.

But the NBA was known, rightfully so, as the fan-friendliest league from the early 1980s through the late 1990s. But along the way, some time after Jordan's second retirement in 1998, it began to sour. No small number of Americans who would describe themselves as NBA fans openly rooted against the U.S. players -- all of them NBA stars -- during the Athens Olympics.

Stern and his lieutenants are going to have to figure out when this resentment of NBA players started to increase, why it has become so open, and what to do about it. Suspending Artest, O'Neal and Jackson won't begin to address that.

All Stern has done so far is what he had to do immediately, which is get the aforementioned Pacers away from the court. Even that is problematic for the league's bigger picture. The Eastern Conference, which has been a basketball blight since the Bulls were broken up at the end of the 1998 season, entered the season with only three viable teams: the Pistons, Pacers and Heat. And now the Pacers' season is done.

That doesn't mean, however, that this episode is over. In fact, this is just the beginning. Prosecutors in Michigan continue their work. Fans who were punched, trampled, soaked in beer, and shoved under chairs are scheduling visits with their lawyers. The NBA season is only three weeks old, yet this brawl and all it exposes guarantees the league is headed for one long winter.

indygeezer
11-22-2004, 11:59 AM
ACCORDING TO SOURCES


rumors.

Hicks
11-22-2004, 12:09 PM
I love the rhetoric. None of these people have seemingly had a problem with trafficing guns, smuggling drugs, using drugs, driving under the influence, providing alchohol to minors, raping women, players beating their spouses, not paying child support, and on and and on..........

That is such a good point, and it's a travesty that it's goint to be mostly ignored league-wide and in the media. Just a ****ing travesty.

RWB
11-22-2004, 12:11 PM
ACCORDING TO SOURCES


rumors.


Exactly Geez. Believe me, I work with these guys all the time and if a player hit a cop his *** would be in jail right now. What's going on and has been since this started is Stern and the CEO for the Pistons have been trying to cover their *** since it happened. They tried to get by cheap by hiring and using untrained individuals as security. As I stated in another thread the dead give away is look for the individuals who have radios or at least cell phones. Guess what (THEY DON'T) and thats why they couldn't communicate with each other to get someone near the table when this thing started to escalate. Secondly I can also promise you this...Their supposed security people were watching the game instead of doing their job and watching people. Mr. Wilson of the Pistons you should be fired.

Stryder
11-22-2004, 12:14 PM
Why did he include the part about Michael Jordan's ribs being hurt by Artest in a pickup game?

Kinda stupid to include that info. in this article.

indygeezer
11-22-2004, 12:17 PM
Thanks RWB, you've confirmed what I've suspected. I knew with your background I'd hear from you eventually on the security people.
What I found really funny was the dude with his Mace/pepper spray pulled standing there like Barney Fife.
Compare the lack of security people mentioned by Slick to the plethora of security at the Pacer games and you can see why it escalated so quickly and took so long to bring this under control.

sc
11-22-2004, 12:30 PM
Never say anything about O'Neal and a cop but I did see a Pacer get a little rough with a cop and the cop put the pepper spray canister in his face. I wonder if that is the incident.

RWB
11-22-2004, 12:34 PM
Sorry, double post, I must be ticked. :laugh:

RWB
11-22-2004, 12:36 PM
:mad::mad:Damn straight Geez. Before Colts camp starts we meet three times with Colts Management to discuss all concerns and how we are going to handle a crisis if it arises. We have our first meeting about this stuff in March and it is important enough that the highest indivdiuals that attend are just below Irsay. Shoot, when the Colts have the popular night practices you would be really surprised to know how many plain clothes people are setting right next to you. And guess what.?.... we ALL carry radios or nextals to keep each other informed on who may be trouble. And you are correct Geez, when you go to Conseco its pretty easy to find or spot a cop. The #1 thing with crowd control is make your presence known. Its not the idea of trying to be heavy handed, but let the person know "You are going to be seen and there'll be consequences. Everyone talks about well it's not the Palace's fault because you can't control a situation like that. WRONG....You DETER people from having the thought before even trying it......Now we get to watch our season go down the drain because Tom Wilson wanted to save the buck$.
:mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:

indygeezer
11-22-2004, 01:36 PM
:mad::mad:Damn straight Geez. Before Colts camp starts we meet three times with Colts Management to discuss all concerns and how we are going to handle a crisis if it arises. We have our first meeting about this stuff in March and it is important enough that the highest indivdiuals that attend are just below Irsay. Shoot, when the Colts have the popular night practices you would be really surprised to know how many plain clothes people are setting right next to you. And guess what.?.... we ALL carry radios or nextals to keep each other informed on who may be trouble. And you are correct Geez, when you go to Conseco its pretty easy to find or spot a cop. The #1 thing with crowd control is make your presence known. Its not the idea of trying to be heavy handed, but let the person know "You are going to be seen and there'll be consequences. Everyone talks about well it's not the Palace's fault because you can't control a situation like that. WRONG....You DETER people from having the thought before even trying it......Now we get to watch our season go down the drain because Tom Wilson wanted to save the buck$.
:mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:


This is important enough I had to copy and paste it to the IS site. Thanks RWB.