I was watching the Pacers play Detroit on Friday night and I was happy because the Pacers were up and slated to win. Until, Big Ben Wallace decides to shove Ron Artest, because of a hard foul that was dished out to him. Artest was fouled previously but no call was made. Everyone knows what happened after that, so I am not going to state the chain of events, but I will give my opinion on the matter.
Wallace was fouled hard and he had no right to shove Artest the way he did. Artest seemed calm and restrained as he lay across the scorer’s table. If I was already pissed off and a fan did something like that, I would also jump in the crowd and start beating some ass. It is not the right thing to do, but the behavior exhibited by the Detroit fans was also unacceptable. Jumping in the crowd and throwing punches are wrong and it cannot be excused. However, when fans with Piston jerseys step onto the court with clenched fists, they deserve a serious beating. Those fans could have been armed. When their space was invaded on the court they were just defending themselves and they should not be punished for the fight that happened on the court.
Commissioner David Stern seems to have a personal vendetta against Ron Artest and the Indiana Pacers. Mr. Stern is crucifying him for his past behavior and what happened on Friday night. He probably deserved at least 40 games, but the whole season plus the playoffs is absurd. The Pacers are a smaller market team and the NBA does better financially when big market teams play in the championship. Jermaine O’Neal should only be suspended for no less than ten games. It was self-defense and when you step down onto the court with bad intentions, you deserve it. Vernon Maxwell attacked a fan and he was only suspended for 9 games. I think suspensions and discipline should be handed out on a case-by-case basis, but handing out big fines and suspensions isn’t going to make the league look any better as a whole. If you want to place blame on anyone, we should first look at the fans and the organization. Security was minimal at best on Friday. There should have been enough security on hand to stop Artest from going into the stands. There should have been someone to stop the Detroit fans from making their way on the court. Chairs should be bolted down, so they can’t be flung as weapons. I am glad they don’t serve glass bottles, because there could have been some serious injuries. Any fan that is caught acting out on film or by personal accounts, should be punished. Season tickets should be yanked and they shouldn’t be able to come back all year. If grown men are going to act like children at games, then it is time to start treating them like children. If your fans can’t handle their alcohol, then it is time to start yanking that privilege.
Just because you haven season tickets, it doesn’t mean that you can change the outcome of the game. Just because you wear the Pistons jersey on your chest, doesn’t mean that they are “your” team. Some fans are so possessive and proud of their team; they believe that they actually affect the outcomes of games. Your lucky jersey and foam finger don’t mean shit.
I am disappointed and I hope the Pacers can overcome the odds and make something out of this dismal season.