Pacers, Pistons: my turn
Here’s my solution: Boot ’em for good.
Artest, Jackson and O’Neal should be ousted from the league for good. Their actions last week – simply put – exhibited such a supreme lack of class, an overwhelming prevalence of blatant stupidity and absolutely no semblance of self-control that I would be content to never see them step onto an NBA court ever again.
The real issue has nothing to do with what went on between players on the court. Tempers flare on the court all the time. It happens. That’s part of what intense sport is all about. I’m more concerned with what happened IN THE STANDS. Players climbing into the audience to find someone – anyone – to knock out is inexcusable. And why? Because someone threw a three-quarter full beer at you? Grow up. (Another thing: Why the beer was that full that late in the game is also of concern to me. Who orders a $6-dollar brew and doesn’t finish it before it is damned by the demon of lukewarmness? Shame on you.)
Artest, Jackson and O’Neal, I’d like to introduce you all to a process that seems to have evaded you: Becoming a man. Now, this doesn’t just mean knocking up your “baby mama” and having your accountant cut her a check each month. Part of becoming a man is having the patience, poise and self-control to walk away. If someone “steps to you” or whatever the hell you want to call it, walk away. Now, somewhere in Generation X or Y or whatever we’re on, weight-room-dwelling testosterone fiends have helped forge a new belief that the guy who walks away is some sort of pansie or many other words not suitable for type. But here’s the truth: He’s not. The one that walks away is the real man. Self-control is much more difficult – and rewarding – than barbarically unleashing rage on – as is the case with the Pacers and the fans – a pathetically inferior foe.
After watching Con Air on TBS twice in as many days last week, I remembered that Nicolas Cage’s character went to prison because his skills deemed him basically more than human. So are these guys. Their sheer reach must be at least a foot longer than any of the fans that participated in the melee. Their God-given size alone qualifies them as more than human. They should not be subject to the same rules and regulations as normal people.
The NBA should set a precedent. Davey needs to give a real punishment, not this suspension nonsense. Boot them from the league. Get rid of them. Show these guys not to mess with the fans. Punch Ben Wallace. He’s on the court with you. (Although, if you punch Ben Wallace, I would lobby for a psych evaluation rather than a suspension.) But don’t bring the fans into it. A lifetime ban would set a precedent not to mess with the people that help pay players’ nauseatingly inflated salaries.
To those that say, “but whose going to protect the players?” I would leave that to the legions of neckless security guards surrounding every event, not to mentiont the disproportionately powerful players’ union, which is expected to appeal the suspension. Artest had a little beer spilled on a uniform he doesn’t even wash himself. The fans – although I do concede that they fought back, albeit rather unsuccessfully, and I guess you could weakly argue that they started the brawl – received the crash of a full-power clenched fist from a 6-foot-11-inch monster. Who got it worse? The players don’t need any more protection. Apparently, the fans are the ones in need.
Fans should not have to go to a sporting event fearing that one of the animals might get out of the cage. Boot these guys from the league. Send them to Canada. Better yet, release them on our newly reelected President’s existing “Global War on Terror.” Killing foreigners always seems an acceptable vent. Fighting an un-winnable war will not only unleash that barbaric angst, it’ll also keep them busy for a while, at least until they can no longer play in the NBA. Problem solved.
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