Expertise's Politics and Sports Blog

Saturday, November 20, 2004
Artest, Jackson, and O'Neal clean house on Detroit fans.


If you haven't heard, one of the wildest altercations in sports history happened Friday night.

It started with only 45 seconds left in the Pistons-Pacers game.  Ron Artest fouls Ben Wallace as Wallace was driving to the lane.  Wallace takes exception to that and shoves the hell out of Artest.

Players and officials immediately start breaking it up before it becomes a full blown fight.  Artest, to his credit, actually backs up and doesn't try to fight.  In fact, Artest - the NBA's wild child that snaps like a power keg - lays down on the scoring table, which was hilarious. 

But nobody could have imagined what was to happen next.  While lying on the table, a fan throws a cup of beer and hits Artest.

That did set Artest off.  And before anyone could blink, Artest was in the stands trying to make that fan a part of one of the arena chairs, bashing the guy's head into one of those seats.  And other guy walked in the melee and threw ANOTHER beer, and was immediately mollywhopped by Pacers forward Stephen Jackson.

The only problem is, that wasn't the guy that actually hit Artest with the beer.  The one that did was the one with the cap and jersey on in the picture.  He tried along with arena security and both teams to pull Artest off of the guy, and once they had done that, cheap-shotted Artest with rabbit punches in the back of the head.

It turned into a very ugly situation, with Pacers players fighting with Pistons fans anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.  Everybody's trying to subdue Artest before he killed someone, Jackson is trying to beat everyone's asses in the building, and even Pacers big man Jermaine O'Neal came out of nowhere with a sliding overhand right on a fan who was trying to fight Artest on the court.

All in all, a great substitute for Friday Night Fights.  All of these guys have potential to be wrestlers after their NBA careers are over.  I'm sure Vince McMahon is drooling at the prospects (and it is quite ironic that earlier this month the Pistons came out during the introduction of their home opener each wearing a replica of Ric Flair's World Heavyweight Championship gold belt.  Maybe they should have given those to the Pacers).

This is probably an all new low for the behavior of sports fans.  Detroit gets absolutely no respect for what went down Friday night.  And what makes it worse is that a number of them ended up getting tagged by Artest, Jackson, and O'Neal.

Suspensions?  Oh you can bet on it.  We might even see someone gone for the rest of the year.  You can bet those four will be suspended as well a couple of others.  Right now, I see Stephen Jackson being MIA for the most games, but they might get Artest worse because of Artest's past history of getting into altercations.  Wallace will be suspended for about three games, and O'Neal will get a game as well.

UPDATEThe NBA has indefinitely suspended Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O'Neal, and Ben Wallace pending a further investigation into Friday night's incident.

This was the correct thing to do by the NBA.  Actually, I wished they had did it a few hours after the fight.  But it does show that they are on top of things and all parties involved will be found and punished.

And hopefully they find the fans behind this and have them banned from all Detroit games, as well have criminal charges filed against them.

Posted at 01:46 am by Expertise

November 21, 2004   05:27 PM PST
So what you're telling me is because they put up with it, others should continue to put up with that as well?

Naw. I'm not with that. There's a line, and fans who commit those acts cross the line. PERIOD. And they deserve the whupping they got.

Like I said, Artest should be punished, but I'm not going to criticize him for doing it and I sure as hell don't feel pity for the ones that got mollywhopped by the Pacers.
November 21, 2004   12:35 AM PST
O'Neal was defending his teammate, who was just previously attacked by another Detroit fan on the court, and considering that both of them were Latino and just happened to have on Detroit jerseys, they were probably in it together. O'Neal had every right to do what he did.

I am not defending the players actions to the point where they shouldn't be punished. Suspensions and fines are definitely an order. But I'm not going to chastise them for something that they didn't start and the fans clearly initiated. Every fan involved in that mess got exactly what they deserved.
November 20, 2004   08:54 PM PST
Why would you defend the players' actions? Do they have no self-control, no ability to regulate their behavior in any way? Is skill in the sport of basketball so rare that we have to employ thugs to play it?

I've seen the video and I'd like to see your justification for O'Neal's behavior. How was he correct in any way to run over to that guy and punch him?


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