Saturday, November 20, 2004

Why I’m going to start watching basketball

Malice in the Palace (via Drudge):

Players and fans exchanged punches in the stands in one of the worst NBA brawls ever, leaving several people injured and prompting a police investigation.

Indiana's Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson charged into the stands and fought with fans in the final minute of their game against the Detroit Pistons on Friday night, and the brawl forced an early end to the Pacers' 97-82 win.

Drudge also linked to the Daily Recycler for video, pretty much taking that site down with traffic. Wes Roth has a long roundup of video links, many also bogged down, and the best, pithiest, summary yet, “This is off.the.hook.”

I take back everything bad I ever said about basketball being for wussies. It still is, obviously, but at least these wussies can throw a decent punch.

From listening to the SportsCenter commentary it seems like they are trying to blame the fans for this. And, sure, it started in earnest when a fan threw a blue plastic cup at Artest. But then Artest charges into the stands to autograph the fans face with his fist. A slight overreaction, I should say, and one that, as a professional, Artest should've known better than to carry out. And SportsCenter reacts with horror and surprise that fans would punch back when Artest bum rushes a compatriot. How dare they!

And just as a person, Artest should also know that you don’t slug someone for throwing a cup at you. Yeah, the fans were out of hand, but the blame falls more on the shoulders of the players. They make millions, so I think they can afford a little restraint.

The upshot of this? Probably tighter restrictions on alcohol, more police behind the bench, and, obviously, snipers. Because you show me a problem that snipers can’t solve, and I’ll show you a problem that probably shouldn’t be solved.

update: And also lawsuits. Being punched by Artest is liking winning the lottery, only more bruising.


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