View Full Version : My take, for what its worth

Vicious Tyrant
11-24-2004, 11:42 AM
OK, Shade's question on Pro/Anti Artest got me thinking.

I know some would like to move on, but I want to air my thoughts on why I support the Stern suspension.

REASON THE FIRST: I have made myself a little career out of working with juvenile delinquents. I'm currently a juvenile PO and I teach our county's Anger Management course.

Believe me, the kids I work with (and other kids, too) are watching this kind of situation. It sure is a powerful when you can talk to kids with anger problems and say "look what happens when a good person (which I believe Ron is) loses control - when he lets the aggression make the decisions." The kids see that and they see the consequences of letting their anger get the best of them.

Its also powerful to be able to talk about Ron Artest (pre-Detroit) and talk about his anger being harnessed and how anger is OK, it can be a powerful tool, but a tool you have to be the master of. A lot of these kids have a LOT of anger inside and a LOT of reason to be angry. When you can point out another person full of anger who is using it to improve themselves - you are telling them that its OK to feel angry (a lesson many of them never hear) and they are not bad people for feeling angry, but that everyone has to be responsible for the choices they make, not the feelings they have.

I was working in a group home in Chicago when the Spreewell/Carlissimo thing happened. When it first came out I was talking with a young man we had at the time who was pretty aggressive. He was laughing about what a cool thing it was that Spreewell went off on the coach. Instead of trying to argue the "right or wrong" of the situation, I just said "let's watch what happens because of this". Well, not much happened (in the eyes of the young man), Spreewell immediately got his own series of shoes commercials, and ended up doing OK. That was frustrating.

Now I realize I'm just putting out a variation on "athletes are role models" here, an argument which has supporters and detractors, all making good points. But I'm also saying "angry people are role models" Ron and Spreewell and these guys are noticed by the kids I work with, for the very reason that they're angry people. These feelings of anger are just in some people - thats just a natural fact. But some angry people deal with being angry very effectively, some don't. When they don't, they need to be held accountable, just like anyone else.

This situation has provided me with a powerful illustration of that. I don't know if that means anything to anyone else, but its meaningful to me.

The suspension benefits Ron.

And by benefitting Ron, the suspension benefits the Pacers. Now I don't think the Pacers will get rid of Ron for this, so if I'm wrong there, this might be a moot point.

But in my experience angry people don't learn to behave themselves by delving into their childhood and examining all the deep reasons for being angry. They behave themselves b/c they have to. Once they realize the pain of not controlling their anger is greater than the pain of controlling it, the anger starts to get controlled.

That takes me to REASON THE SECOND: I feel better about the Pacers since this happened, because I feel closure is in sight.

Closure b/c this tells me that Ron has been faced with something really big and he's going to have to "get it" or he won't for a long, long time to come. For me, that lets me feel like the other boot hasn't dropped yet, but it will within the first few months of his return (whenever that is). Now I can feel like we are going to find out soon if things are going to work out with Artest or not.

It seems to me that with all the greatness Ron brings, there's also a cloud over the team all the time - a great cloud of unknowing, to borrow a phrase from the mystics. What's really going on with him? Will something big go down?

Well now we've seen it and I think the team, the league, and Ron himself have a lot more leverage in negotiating that anger than before. If the anger gets under control, there's no issue - if the anger doesn't it won't our problem much longer. Either way, it feels like there's a plan now (even if I don't know the specifics). Its not just a underlying anxiety - the problem is out on the table, the consequences are clear (or will be), and we can let it play out. That's much more comfortable for me than the unknowing.

Well, I don't know if that means much to anyone else, but these thoughts have been on my mind. Thanks for reading if you made it this far.

11-24-2004, 11:56 AM
I could live with the season suspension IF they had punished the Pistons in the same fashion as they punished the Pacers.

For example Ben Wallace ignited the drunken fellon crowd he should be out for at least half the season.

Rip Hamilton was clearly trying to get into the fight and had to be restrained. Since AJ got five games for hitting the guy Jermaine hit, and since the commish said Jermaine's suspensension also includes attempts to go into the stands and that why he got 25 instead of 5. Rip should clearly have gotten 20 games.

If you dont think Rip was trying to get into the stands to fight look at the attached pics.

Vicious Tyrant
11-24-2004, 12:02 PM
I won't argue for a second that Stern dropped the ball in how he dealt with the "other side". I suspect even us "anti-Artesters" agree with you completely.

11-24-2004, 12:16 PM
Ben Wallace should have gotten 10-30 games. What is this SIX GAMES? That is an insult! The guy shoves Artest as hard as he could, goes after him like he wants to kill him, throws stuff at Artest, and for all this he only gets SIX GAMES. COME ON!

But I completely understand what you are saying Vicious, and I agree.

11-24-2004, 12:29 PM
First, VT, I want to thank you for a very thoughtful post.

Your unique perspective adds quite a bit of insight into the anger of young men watching Artest and how his punishment will affect their attitudes.

That said, let me reframe the discussion: Why are they angry?

They are angry because of injustice and oppression.

Why is Ron angry? It certainly is related to growing up in the hood and having family problems, etc. (reference the "Ron Ron" story here). It is certainly related, at least indirectly, to injustice and oppression.

But, more specifically, why was Ron angry in that incident?

1. He had been hit several times with no consequences to the violators.
2. Wallace had fouled and abused him all game with no call from the refs.
3. Wallace had seconds ago violated him--badly--and continued to abuse him verbally and throw things at him. He was NOT immediately ejected. He should have been. When he was, security did not immediately take him out of the area. (Had they done so, no melee.)

These are all injustices to Ron Artest, IMO.

VT, I do not disagree with your emphasis on personal responsibility. You have to learn to forego retaliation in a sorry world.

However, that does not take the onus off those creating an environment of anger with their injustice. I think Stern has added to this environment with favoritism toward large market cities and toward the Pistons vs. the Pacers. He has found suspending Artest (I'm talking past cases) as an easy scapegoat to addressing larger problems such as unfair foul calling (favoritism to superstars) or volatile fans.

In summary, Stern can do TWO things to help anger from winning the day.

1. He can communicate that out of control anger has negative consequences.
2. He can change his own actions that lead people to become angry.