A few weeks ago, Indiana Pacers guard Ron Artest asked for a break from the NBA so he could dedicate more time to the production of his album with Allure.
Artest said he’d saved enough money to not need the league anymore.
And just a week ago, Artest again asked for a hiatus from his hectic schedule as a rich, young, music-producing professional basketball player.
Now he says he was just joking and that the statements he made about needing a month-long break should not have been taken literally by the media.
Well, Mr. Artest, whether you really wanted it or not, you may now take that break.
You and your intelligent teammates who decided to rush the stands at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Friday night and fight the Detroit Pistons fans.
I hope you’ve saved at least enough money to pay the $5,482,028 you’ve already incurred in fines and the future court costs you stand to incur.
Or maybe when your album goes platinum, you can use that money to pay for your idiotic mistake.
You may want to go on SportsCenter again and pub it though because, right now things aren’t looking too good.
But let’s not place all the blame on Artest and his hot temper.
Detroit’s Ben Wallace started it all with his overreaction to a simple foul and for that he is being fined $439,024 and six games, nothing compared to others involved. But then again, Wallace didn’t hit any fans.
Flashback to Friday night…
Artest fouls Wallace.
Wallace retaliates by shoving Artest halfway across the court, and a huge fight ensues.
Detroit fans get angry.
The game is called for the Pacers, 97-82, with 45.9 seconds remaining in the game.
Detroit fans get angrier and one throws a cup of beer/soda/whatever that lands on Artest’s chest.
Artest and teammate Stephen Jackson rush the stands and punch a fan-or five-and eventually what began as a foul turns into an ugly brawl between the Pacers, the Pistons and the Pistons’ fans.
Nine players are now suspended, and officials are looking to arrest the fans who incited the violent episode.
Without a doubt, everyone involved in Friday’s altercation is at fault.
Wallace shouldn’t have shoved Artest.
Fans shouldn’t have thrown food and drinks at the players nor should they have stormed the court.
Artest and Jackson should have never gone into the stands and O’Neal should have never resorted to hitting the fans.
Everything about that incident was wrong, from the startled children sitting just feet away from the violence to airborne food, drinks and chairs.
Commissioner David Stern called the fight “a humiliation for everyone associated with the NBA.”
And that may be an understatement.
Many analysts will blame Friday’s altercation on the fact the NBA is made up of too many young, immature players not used to their status as role models and professionals.
The fact that many are taken straight from high school-or midway through their college career-and given immediate superstar status will likely be an issue.
But this isn’t about blaming the “hip-hop generation,” or whatever they’ve come to call us.
It’s about the league training its players on how to act in tense situations.
It’s about coaches taking the league’s “violence memo”-which directly addresses penalties for fights and leaving the court, among other issues-seriously and actually discussing it with their players.
It’s about setting precedents and sticking to them.
And it’s about having proper security to restrain unruly fans.
Elizabeth Broadway is a senior newspaper journalism student from Atlanta. She is editor in chief for The Famuan. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org