FanDuel - WFBC

November 19, 2004

The Malice In The Palace: What's the answer? Clearly the fans were chiefly culpable, and I for one would be disappointed if this didn't result in the cancellation and forfeiture of at least one Pistons home game.

posted by taupe to basketball at 10:44 PM - 177 comments

They're going to need the national guard there for the playoffs.

posted by sirdavidalot at 10:49 PM on November 19

Wow.

Just.

Wow.

They showed the highlights as I was leaving my local after the Mavs game ended, and everyone just stood there with mouths agape.

It was like Frankie Francisco meets the Eagles crowd, squared.

Nothing good can come from this.

I've already heard two commentators speculate that Artest may be out for *the season*.

I've seen the highlights twice now, and didn't it look like Jermaine O'Neal also snuck in a sucker punch on a fan?

This is one of those nights I curse not having cable so I could see the replay over and over again on SportsCenter.

This is going to be one hell of a ride.

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:26 PM on November 19

So I guess no one else here is old enough to remember when basketball players were known as cagers, and why?

posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:33 PM on November 19

Does anyone know of a link showing footage to the chaos?

I was watching the game and turned it off when I didn't think the Pistons had a chance...silly me!

posted by jmd82 at 12:01 AM on November 20

I don't think the O'Neal was much of a sucker punch.

After Artest got done beating the guy down in the crowd, he came back on the court and three husky guys looked like they were going to jump him.

Who was the guy in the olive suit, one of the coaches?

The third guy about got pepper-sprayed by the cop at mid-court.

Did you see the chair thown at O'Neal?

They're going to have to put a big bubble hockey game lid on top of the court from now on.

I feel sorry for Artest.

He was laying down before it happened, I think he's close to Tyson on the mental stability scale...

posted by sirdavidalot at 12:05 AM on November 20

Here's a couple of untested .avi's, jmd, from #mefi.

I haven't seen 'em myself though, so I absolve said ufez from any associated risk.

I would check 'em, but I'm on dialup.

Let us know if they work well or not

posted by Ufez Jones at 12:07 AM on November 20

Did you see the chair thown at O'Neal?

I feel sorry for Artest. He was laying down before it happened, I think he's close to Tyson on the mental stability scale...

See, that's all stuff I missed by just seeing the highlights of the melee.

As I said, this will be one hell of a ride.

posted by Ufez Jones at 12:12 AM on November 20

I blame the NHL owners. This is what happens when there's no hockey to handle all the winter fighting karma. Though Quentin Richardson's quote was prety far out there for any sport.

posted by billsaysthis at 12:45 AM on November 20

Thanks for the links, ufez.

I also saw the play-by-play action on SportsCenter and HOLY FUCKING SHIT. NOTHING you read online will give justice to the insanity that ensued.

Mass chaos at its worst (best)? I also see suspensions.

Lots of them.

Long ones.

And lawsuits.

LOTS of them.

EXPENSIVE ones.

As far as the links go, the first one shows the last portion where Artest if fighting on the court, but it doesn't show his initial foray into the stands which incited the psuedo-riot. The second like shows a lot more of the action, including the Artest being hit with a cup while chilling on the announcer's table causing him to run up into the stands and the ensueing chaos.

posted by jmd82 at 01:09 AM on November 20

Play the next couple of home games behind closed doors, obviously.

It's also the NBA's Cantona moment. Far more serious, but it raises the same issues. And it's worth looking back at the internal debate within English football -- the Observer's Sport Monthly just did a reprise, including interviews with Eric himself and the kickee.

Cantona's kick was unquestionably glamorous: because it was Cantona (dressed all in black), because it was Manchester United, because it had never happened before, because it was so shocking....

Tom Carty, who was at the match, is one of the senior figures in the British advertising industry and has worked with Cantona, whom he describes as 'a warm, kind, genuine, creative man, a thinker', on film shoots. He believes some good came of the kick.

'It made people think twice about how they behave, about abusing a player,' he says. 'The behaviour of some fans was so bad, so tribalistic. There was so much hate. If Simmons had stayed in his seat, no one would ever have questioned his behaviour, but it needed questioning.

'Just imagine if a black player had done that in the 1970s - someone like Clyde Best when they were chucking bananas at him. There would have been a riot. But it would have changed the way people behaved, some good would have come of it. Maybe that's what happened with Cantona.'

And while I accept the basic premise that, if you're paid that amount of money, you suck up being subject to abuse... well, just as I felt a great degree of satisfaction at the shocked expression on the face of Matthew Simmonds as he got Cantona's flying boot in his chest, I feel a similar satisfaction at those 'fans' who deservedly got a severe twatting at the hands of the Pistons players.

(That said, Artest lying down on the scorers' table wasn't the smartest move.)

posted by etagloh at 02:05 AM on November 20

I wish I could say something here that made me feel better about my fellow Pistons fans, but I can't. This is just another ugly black smear over what should be a relatively good image of us *real* Detroit sports fans. I am passionate in my defense of my hometown athletes, but not to the point where I'd throw beer or pop or anything else at another team (OK, maybe the Avalanche, but that's it... =D). These "people" are not real Detroit fans...the real fans love their teams, but respect a talented team that comes in and gets the best of the home team on occasion...

posted by MeatSaber at 02:32 AM on November 20

Commentary from Ray Ratto, well worth a read.

...every person involved in the horrendous brawl at The Palace at Auburn Hills is secretly proud of himself for not taking any stuff...They're all telling their friends what great people they are, and how many valuable lessons they imparted to all those other stupid people, whoever they might be. They all think this was a rite of passage, a test of manhood, and they all think they passed with flying colors.

Here's the ESPN commentary and brawl highlights.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:47 AM on November 20

Those ESPN commentators are bending over backwards to defend the players. That's crazy. Random drunk-ass fans are going to be imbeciles, regardless of the sport. We should expect more from the millionaires who play the game. If we can't, they should be invited to find some other line of work. I hope Artest gets the rest of the season to think about how much money he'd be making without the NBA.

posted by rcade at 07:16 AM on November 20

I don't think anybody is surprised that Ron Artest is involved in something like this. But I stand by the notion that if a fan finds himself on the playing surface, he deserves whatever he gets.

No matter how much you pay, you aren't part of the game. And no matter how much money these players make, it isn't an excuse to act sub-human towards them.

As those players made their way into the lockerrooms, they just kept throwing and pouring things on them. The NBA........it's FAN-tastic!

posted by usfbull at 08:30 AM on November 20

No way Artest should have run into the stands. But this wasn't a group of random drunk-ass fans, this was a significant percentage of those near the players doing crap that would get you arrested (or otherwise punished) in most situations. Artest deserves to be suspended. Wallace deserves to be suspended. A lot of people deserve to be suspended. But something has to be done about those fans. That chair didn't come from a player.

A disgrace all the way around. A disgrace.

Could this be the straw that broke the beer-sales back? I've never seriously considered that a legitimate possibility before this incident. Now, I think they may want to do it. Simply put, this can't happen again.

And watch those videos closely. The worst part of these lowlights is the dad near the railing on the way to the lockerroom, hugging and protecting his son or daughter from the chaos around him. I feel really bad for that guy.

posted by 86 at 08:33 AM on November 20

The fans coming out on the court/field are always subject to the Mike Curtis Rule....

posted by NYSSoftballBlue at 09:31 AM on November 20

... i get Rule, but who is Mike Curtis?

This was a pretty nasty incident and all i've seen is the clips in this thread.

And Quentin, nice to fuel the Us vs Them divide.

posted by gspm at 09:35 AM on November 20

I hope one of the players sues that fan in the gray and black sweater. They got to be able to afford some Jackie Chiles quality representation.

posted by sirdavidalot at 09:54 AM on November 20

The Mike Curtis Rule. I woke up to this. It was quietly horrifying. You could just watch it get worse and worse (and ESPN is showing the footage so often I'm starting to miss Nicolette Sheridan, even).

posted by chicobangs at 10:20 AM on November 20

Who even knows if the guy Artest attacked was the one who threw the beer at him? Anyway, looks like that idiot will get a month off to promote his rap album after all....

posted by crank at 10:57 AM on November 20

The players should get in as much trouble as the NBA can throw at them.

You don't go into the stands.

Period.

That said, any fan that throws something at the player deserves a shot in the face. Any dumbass fan that comes onto the field of play to challenge a player to a fight...well, I'm all for them getting their face caved in.

Here is the scary part...what if one of these fans had a knife?

What if during the melee, someone pulled out the shiv and stabbed Artest/Jackson/whomever in the kidney.

It's quite possible that during that chaos that he wouldn't be able to get medical attention fast enough.

And let's not consider what could have happened if there was a gun...

posted by grum@work at 11:14 AM on November 20

Well, at least Artest will get that time off he wanted to promote his rap album.

posted by jerseygirl at 12:13 PM on November 20

Here is the scary part...what if one of these fans had a knife? What if during the melee, someone pulled out the shiv and stabbed Artest/Jackson/whomever in the kidney. It's quite possible that during that chaos that he wouldn't be able to get medical attention fast enough. And let's not consider what could have happened if there was a gun...

I can't speak for the Palace at Auburn Hills, but the AAC in Dallas has metal detectors that everyone must pass through.

It's probably not as stringent as, say, airport security, but it would at least make it somewhat difficult to get something in.

posted by Ufez Jones at 01:43 PM on November 20

We should expect more from the millionaires who play the game. If we can't, they should be invited to find some other line of work.

I know that you're consistent about this position, rcade, and I can understand it. But I do recommend reading up on the Cantona incident, just to get a sense of how that karate kick -- for which Cantona received a non-custodial sentence and long, long ban -- led to a new era of self-regulation in the Premier League, in which the terraces were no longer considered a responsibility-free zone, as far as player abuse is concerned.

(Of course, there's a different culture of litigation in the US, which makes me wonder how many people in the top deck are now calling lawyers in search of 'emotional damages'.)

One thing that British visitors always say about watching top-league American sports is that it's less regimented and regulated than a league football match. I'm used to being patted down at the turnstile back home. Beer on the stands is a no-no. Though 9/11 has added security checkpoints to American arenas, the attitude towards alcohol may have to change, in spite of Ratto's cynicism about the topic.

'Random drunk-ass fans' shouldn't be allowed out of the concourses. Simple as that.

First up, though: lock the fans out of the Palace for their next home stand. (From Crystal Palace to the Palace at Auburn Hills: curious, that.) Yes, the genuine supporters will suffer, but closed-doors games have long been FIFA and UEFA's response to crowd trouble, and it works.

posted by etagloh at 01:47 PM on November 20

the terraces were no longer considered a responsibility-free zone, as far as player abuse is concerned.

What does this mean in practice?

Anyway Artest and two others have been suspended indefinitely by the league and the Detroit PD are investigating. Really stupid. So what are the arenas going to do to step up security? At least the NHL has the barriers and glass put in place but really I think the NBA needs to impose at least some physical separation. Also, what etagloh said about the Pistons and Pacers playing some games sans fans.

posted by billsaysthis at 02:07 PM on November 20

From: ESPN The NBA suspended Ron Artest, Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson of Indiana and Ben Wallace of Detroit on Saturday for taking part in one of the ugliest brawls in U.S. sports history.

The suspensions were indefinite, and the league was still investigating Friday night's melee, which commissioner David Stern called "shocking, repulsive and inexcusable -- a humiliation for everyone associated with the NBA."

Also from ESPN: Just when it appeared tempers had died down, Artest was struck by a full cup thrown from the stands. He jumped up, and charged into the stands, throwing punches as he climbed over seats.

"He was on top of me, pummeling me," fan Mike Ryan of Clarkston said. "He asked me, 'Did you do it?' I said, 'No, man. No!'"

Jackson joined Artest in the melee and threw punches at fans, who punched back at them.

If these idiots attacked people who had nothing to do with it, there are going to be lawsuits that will make your head spin.

posted by dzot at 02:29 PM on November 20

I was watching the game live.

When Artest lay down on the scorer's table like he was getting a sun tan on the beach, I couldn't help but think that it wasn't helping to defuse the situation--more like gas on the fire.

You could see that it was just inflaming the Pistons (especially B. Wallace) even more.

And, as a fan, it really ticked me off.

It felt more like he was just rubbing it in.

Why didn't he just walk back to the bench, away from the middle of the court and the opposing team's bench?

Provocative to say the least.

posted by jdefauw at 02:41 PM on November 20

Security personnel and ushers tried to break it up. Former Pistons player Rick Mahorn, who was seated courtside as a Detroit radio analyst, tried to stop the brawl in the stands. Detroit's Rasheed Wallace and Indiana's David Harrison were also in or near the stands trying to break up the fights.

You know this was really fucked up when Rick Mahorn and Rasheed Wallace are playing peacemaker.

posted by jbou at 02:49 PM on November 20

When Artest lay down on the scorer's table like he was getting a sun tan on the beach, I couldn't help but think that it wasn't helping to defuse the situation--more like gas on the fire. You could see that it was just inflaming the Pistons (especially B. Wallace) even more. And, as a fan, it really ticked me off. It felt more like he was just rubbing it in. Why didn't he just walk back to the bench, away from the middle of the court and the opposing team's bench? Provocative to say the least.

Hold up.

Lying down and not getting involved in more shouting and shoving is considered "provocative"?

He was actually in the middle of a radio interview at the time.

It's not like he stood on the table and gave the finger to the fans, or starting jawing at someone behind the bench.

He was literally doing nothing at all.

In fact, Wallace tried to entice him to fight again (throwing a towel at him) and he refused to do anything.

It was pretty much over until that f*cknut lobbed the bottle/cup at him... I just don't know why everyone expects an athlete to just take physical abuse and not retaliate.

Salary and prestige should not be an excuse for fans to start physical attacks and not expect some sort of response.

I don't know if everyone has seen the full tape, but there is a scene where Artest and Jackson are being mobbed by "fans" and security and are essentially restrained.

At this point, two different fans jump onto the backs of some of the restrainers and start throwing blind-side rabbit-punches to the back of the Pacers' heads.

What disgusts me is that those guys are probably going to try and join in the lawsuit brigade and get some money out of this.

posted by grum@work at 02:59 PM on November 20

I can't believe no one's mentioning how insane the Detriot fans are. What was that guy who was squaring up with Artest thinking?

Doesn't he know Artest's dad was a boxer and initially was training Ron to be a boxer?

That guy has a lotta balls.

The Pacers were obviously on a mission.

They were so wound up and angry that the were ready to go headhunting fans (I'm not making a value judgement on that).

My comment is this.

I've been at basketball games (high school, pick up games) where fights break out and everyone's fighting, players, coaches, spectators, whoever.

Outside of profession basketball, it's not that unusual for basketball melees to start.

So if the NBA allows an evironment where there's just chaos they shouldn't be suprised with the results.

posted by Mike McD at 03:06 PM on November 20

jbou has the best line of the thread so far.

The nugget of sanctimony enjoying broad circulation in discussions of this that's nauseating me the most is the whole "only a cup of beer" canard leveled against Artest.

Okay, you're in a heated emotional situation in which somebody essentially threw a punch at you not a minute ago, and you're trying, in whatever (perhaps half-assed) way, to stay out of the rest of things.

Then something thrown at you hits you with force.

In a split second you're supposed to identify the missile and place it in its proper responsible context of potential threats?

(Also, chicobangs' link explaining the Mike Curtis rule requires registration.

While a lot of the unwritten codes in professional sport that justify violent action in certain situations do need to be exposed as the childish macho bullshit they are, this Mike Curtis rule if I understand it correctly seems manifestly sane -- step onto the field/court, you're a security risk, pure and simple, and anyone in a position to do something about it should have leeway in doing so.)

posted by taupe at 03:42 PM on November 20

"They say taupe is very soothing."

Seriously, you guys are 'horrified' by this? I found it vastly entertaining. How expensive are the courtsides in Auburn Hills anyway? You'd think the riff-raff couldn't afford them and the 13 beers. Ooooo.... It's a dark day for America.

The big deal here is how this will affect the Pacers. They were playing well and Jackson and Artest are absolute keys. Of course, so is Big Ben for the Pistons.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 03:58 PM on November 20

In a split second you're supposed to identify the missile and place it in its proper responsible context of potential threats?

"I've either been shot in the face or had a beer thrown at me! I won't know till the lab results get back..." Artest is lacking in critical-thinking skills, but not that badly.

posted by crank at 04:31 PM on November 20

jbou, i was thinking the same thing. nuts.

posted by gspm at 04:32 PM on November 20

Hold up. Lying down and not getting involved in more shouting and shoving is considered "provocative"? He was actually in the middle of a radio interview at the time. It's not like he stood on the table and gave the finger to the fans, or starting jawing at someone behind the bench. He was literally doing nothing at all. In fact, Wallace tried to entice him to fight again (throwing a towel at him) and he refused to do anything. It was pretty much over until that f*cknut lobbed the bottle/cup at him...

Oh, come on. If he wanted to diffuse, he should have gone to the fucking bench. He was not exactly getting in anyone's face, but he was acting like the smug shithead that had me stop watching the NBA long ago (until last year). He wasn't an innocent bystander, and he grabbed the headset and laid down to taunt Wallace. No doubt about it.

posted by adampsyche at 05:18 PM on November 20

Oh, come on. If he wanted to diffuse, he should have gone to the fucking bench. He was not exactly getting in anyone's face, but he was acting like the smug shithead that had me stop watching the NBA long ago (until last year). He wasn't an innocent bystander, and he grabbed the headset and laid down to taunt Wallace. No doubt about it.

Artest is the idiot in this one. By pulling a Terrell Owens and laying on the scorer's bench, he was just rubbing it in. Not that the fans should have exercised their throwing arms, but Artest is lucky he just got a few beers and popcorn tossed at him.

posted by roberts at 05:50 PM on November 20

He was actually in the middle of a radio interview at the time.

He was conducting an interview?

Must have been pushing his new album.

posted by jdefauw at 05:52 PM on November 20

Getting tired of hearing that Wallace started this shit. I mean, that was a pretty fucking flagrant foul.

posted by adampsyche at 05:55 PM on November 20

"I've either been shot in the face or had a beer thrown at me! I won't know till the lab results get back..."

Come on.

The range of possibilities isn't limited to "shot in face" or "beer".

It includes "thing with battery in it", "thing with harmful substance in it", "thing that may just have injured me and threatened my professional career though I don't know it yet".

Again, I'd like to see the nebbishes react in a similar situation without prior warning, and honestly process it as anything more than "thing thrown at me".

posted by taupe at 06:40 PM on November 20

Those ESPN commentators are bending over backwards to defend the players. We should expect more from the millionaires who play the game. If we can't, they should be invited to find some other line of work.

My thoughts exactly. The espn commenators did not share the blame , they blamed the fans completely while claiming the players did absolutely nothing wrong.

Disgraceful

posted by justgary at 07:38 PM on November 20

If anyone hasn't seen it you can get it here. (You'll know which one)

posted by justgary at 07:47 PM on November 20

I find myself taking an odd -- and hard to explain -- position in all this. I think that, if you heave an object at someone who's already het up, you shouldn't be too surprised if you get a fist flung at you in return.

Not thinking in terms of right and wrong, or blame and responsibility, but just cause and effect: provoke an already-provoked person, and they're likely to retaliate.

But the big problem that I have with talk about the fans deserving the retaliation, is that it makes it sound like the one pays for the other.

You pitch a beer, you get punched in the face, and we're square, right?

That's the thinking that lets a lot of guys wade into fights: the reasoning that it's just between the two of you (or three, or six, or twelve, or whatever), and the lumps you give each other are all that anyone should have to pay for this fracas.

And that's the thinking that really has to be avoided here.

I'm really glad to see the suspensions, pleasantly surprised that they're indefinite. I hope they do what they have to do to ID the fans involved, and come down with a hard and fast legal dope-slap on them too.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:03 PM on November 20

I couldn't believe the ESPN announcers either, and I'm in total agreement with rcade. My reaction was "If I'm a Pistons fan and Artest wants to come wading in attacking random strangers, he better be ready for the riot, sucker punches and beer shower." I think the worst one in this is Stephen Jackson. He didn't get hit, yet he ran in there, not to help, but to beat down more fans. What an ass.

One change I think will happen is a quicker whistle on flagrants, and an immediate ejection for anything close to fighting. Also, I'll bet those tunnels will come all the way to courtside next season.

As disturbing as it was, I found it incredibly entertaining, in a pro wrestling sense.

posted by dusted at 09:44 PM on November 20

Getting tired of hearing that Wallace started this shit. I mean, that was a pretty fucking flagrant foul.

I'm with you on that, adam, but I see fouls along those lines about once a game. There are certain players I expect reactions from and players that I respect who react differently.

Ben's reaction was a bit of a surprise to me.

That said, he should, by far, have the lightest suspension of the 4 players involved. Way to just straight up hand the East to Detroit, Arty, et. al.

As disturbing as it was, I found it incredibly entertaining, in a pro wrestling sense.

*nods*

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:17 PM on November 20

Yes, it was entertaining. I can't deny it. In that car wreck sort of way.

Did Ben overreact? Possibly. But why was Artest in the game at that point at all, and why was he making fouls like that when his team was so far ahead?

Sorry. I have a soft spot for the 'fro.

posted by adampsyche at 12:24 AM on November 21

Sorry. I have a soft spot for the 'fro.

That shit's like Johnny Cochrane. Smooth. Always in charge.

"If the foul don't fit, you must acquit, playa.

posted by rocketman at 03:48 AM on November 21

Come on. The range of possibilities isn't limited to "shot in face" or "beer". It includes "thing with battery in it", "thing with harmful substance in it", "thing that may just have injured me and threatened my professional career though I don't know it yet".

You forgot chemical and biological weapons that could kill everyone in the arena! Oh my God! Are there terrorists in Auburn Hills?

Having had beer dumped on me before, I can assure you it doesn't feel like acid, or "thing with battery in it" or anything but sweet sweet beer. But it's humilliating and make HULK ARTEST want to SMASH!

posted by sic at 05:14 AM on November 21

Yes, professional athletes should show some retraint when dealing with fans. Maybe they need to have thicker skins.

However, just because a fan spent his "hard earned money" on a ticket, that doesnt give them the right to say or do anyting they feel like when at a game.

Lets face it, there is enough blame to go around.

After seeing the pictures of the elderly person on the bottom of a pile, I found myself asking, "how could we have sunk so low.

Kids crying throughout the statium, that should send a message to somebody.

This brawl is a real tragedy.

To think it was all over a simple game!

posted by daddisamm at 06:11 AM on November 21

http://www.basketbrawl.us/ has all the videos and photos from the event in question.

posted by NextWish at 07:08 AM on November 21

how many flagrant fouls are committed a year that don't receive a shove in the face as a response? I don't think that the artest foul was all that bad (certainly not RIOTOUS though I don't know if the context of the preceding entire game action had Wallace a little hyped up) and if Wallace had kept his cool a bit more... i wouldn't be lamenting his participation and indefinite absence from my fantasy team.

I'd think that Wallace gets the shortest suspension since he wasn't punching fans or anything like that. Nasty.

posted by gspm at 09:09 AM on November 21

Thanks NextWish, yours was the only vid I could get to work properly. That was excellent entertainment. Encore.

posted by squealy at 09:12 AM on November 21

To think, I was just telling my friend there was absolutely nothing that could be done to make basketball interesting.

How wrong was I.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 11:27 AM on November 21

Okay, as much as I hate to say it, it was entertaining. (especially since I'm not a huge basketball fan and I don't have any fantasty basketball team) What I found to be a bit ghoulishly funny was the skinny white guy that is taunting Artest as he's making his way into the stands.

Everyone else is bailing out around him, and this guy keeps pointing/laughing...until he realizes that Artest is actually going to get him.

That said, if you watch the video, Artest grabs him, pushes him down and then doesn't throw a punch.

He's going to, but then seems to change him mind.

posted by grum@work at 11:48 AM on November 21

I just heard that the league is talking about 30 games for Artest, 20 each for O'Neal and Jackson, and 5 for Wallace. Those seem pretty low to me. Artest needs to get a season - Sprewell got a season and that didn't involve beating fans.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:01 PM on November 21

Of course, the skinny white guy wasn't the one who threw the beer or was taunting him. Which explains his surprise to find Artest bearing down on him and makes it a whole lot less funny for me. Apparently, the investigation is centered on some guy in a white cap that was near the skinny guy with glasses.

But ARTEST SMASH ANYWAY!

posted by sic at 12:04 PM on November 21

okay, my opinion on this has done a total 180.

When I first saw the video I thought they should kick Artest out of the NBA.

Now that I know the context, and have watched the video, I think Artest should get the minimum suspension.

Here's why.

1 - He walked away from the initial fight.

2 - I feel like some of you might be misinterpreting his *suntanning*. Look, we know Artest has trouble controling his temper. Isn't possible that the *suntanning* was the equivalent of trying to take 10 deep breaths. Isn't that what your supposed to do ... lie down, relax, picture a warm beach?

3 - He didn't hit the fan he went after. The fan said Artest grabbed him and was asking "did you throw it, did you throw it?" Someone hit Artest in the head with a full beer ... I don't have a problem with him trying to apprehend the guy who did it.

4 - The guy who actually threw the beer was a major jerk. He stood his ground as Artest charged into the stands and then started throwing punches at Artest from behind.

5 - Artest goes back down on the floor and another fan starts squaring up with him. Artest has just been hit in the head with an unknown object and sucker punched from behind at this point. I think he's justified in protecting him.

In summary, this was the NBA's fault.

The Detroit fans were treating the Pacers like they were animals in the zoo (IMO there's nothing I more repugnant than people who taunt animals at the zoo). For the NBA to put their players in an environment like that was negligent.

posted by Mike McD at 12:28 PM on November 21

In summary, this was the NBA's fault.

That's ridiculous. It's Artest's fault. He should not have gone in the stands, no matter what. I think the fans around the guy that threw the cup would have pointed him out if he had let security handle it. Regardless of whether you agree with that, Artest is the one that started the riot. A 30 game suspension is OK, but I'd give him and Jackson half a season (41 games?). And now the Pacers are playing six guys - the Pistons might have lost the game, but they sure won in the end.

posted by dusted at 12:56 PM on November 21

He didn't get hit in the head, the cup of beer landed on his chest as he was lying on the scorer's table, dousing him with beer. It was humilliating, especially for an egomaniac, but did not injure him in anyway. He then attacked a skinny four-eyed kid who apparently had nothing to do with it; he may or may not have punched him, he certainly knocked him down and probably hurt him (you ever been tackled by an angry chisled 240 lb man?), at the very least he wet himself. Charging into the stands actually kicked the incident from basketball shoving match into full blown riot. He clocked some fat guy have his size once back on the court, because it appears that the guy was yelling at him in a threatening way, yet that guy had not thrown a punch. In fact the only guy he didn't go nuts on was the only guy that would have kicked his ass through the roof if he did: Ben Wallace. This does not excuse the actions of the fans. There is a lot of blame to go around, but let's not excuse the main culprit here.

ARTEST SMASH!

posted by sic at 01:45 PM on November 21

Artest, O'Neal, Jackson and Wallace should be kicked out of the league permanently without pay, and both teams should be severely fined. Can you imagine Jerry West laying down on the scorer's table during a game? Or would Walt Frazier have run into the stands smacking fans in head until he finds the one fan who threw refreshments at him? Some fans should be dealt with severely as wellwe'll know who they are once they start showing up in court with their multi-million dollar lawsuits.

Commissioner Stern, this is your opportunity to send a positive message to the youthful fans of professional sports; when you act like a lawless, disrespectful idiot, you pay a tremendous price.

posted by Oscar Pine at 01:57 PM on November 21

Player suspensions, no matter the length, are insufficient. Assault charges, especially against the players (Artest on that skinny fan discussed above, for instance) and any identifyable fans who threw punches without being punched first themselves need to happen. Also, as would absolutely be the case in European soccer, playing at least some games behind closed doors for both teams--see AS Roma in the current round of the Champions League, penalized this way for two home matches because ONE FAN THREW A CIGARETTE LIGHTER AT THE REF. But because of the economics involved, the player suspensions will be the major disciplinary result, the Palace will beef up security (maybe the longer tunnels suggested by dusted), and maybe some community service required from a few players and fans.

posted by billsaysthis at 02:01 PM on November 21

I am late to the party here, but after having watched the extended version from NextWish's link above, I can certainly say that my mind has been changed. The Canadian sports media has totally framed this as a "that Artest asshole" thing, especially coming off last week's "rap album" thing (not a lot of good old hockey boys that listen to rap).

But in my opinion, Artest may have been the least to blame here: Ben Wallace totally overreacted (to an admittedly stupid foul), and then tried to goad Artest into something more; the Detroit fans (who got involved) were totally despicable -- this had absolutely nothing to do with them from the get-go, so keep the hell out of it; and I've always felt that O'Neal is one of those puffed-up blowhard type of tough guys rather than an actual tough guy -- this confirmed it for me.

But the real prick of the situation was Jackson, who danced around the whole time with his "you gonna step to...ME?" pose routine and then (as dusted points out), jumps into the stands, not to pull Artest away, but to throw a few punches himself. Again, this had nothing really to do with him...

The only thing you can get Artest on is the going into the stands, and I don't buy that either. If someone throws something at you and hits you in the face, it doesn't matter your profession, salary, gender, or whatever -- you must have dignity for your own self above and beyond anything else. For some, that means turning the other cheek, for others that means standing up for yourself and fighting back. Either is fine by me. But don't let some chickenshit hide behind the veil of "professional athletes aren't supposed to come into the stands!"

posted by smithers at 02:15 PM on November 21

BTW, I also hope that Stern has the guts to impose a one-game match behind closed doors for the Pacers-Pistons rematch in Detroit.

And for those who want a somewhat academic slant on this topic, here is a short essay by sports geographer John Bale called Virtual Fandoms: Futurescapes of Football, in which he deals with "the problem of spectators".

posted by smithers at 02:25 PM on November 21

I think the fans around the guy that threw the cup would have pointed him out if he had let security handle it.

Riiiiiiight.

Just like everyone is lining up to point out the guys who were suckerpunching Artest and Jackson from behind.

And how everyone is turning in all the people who threw beer, popcorn and ice on the players leaving the court.

Mob mentality doesn't tend to suddenly disperse and assist the police...

posted by grum@work at 02:35 PM on November 21

Welcome to the hip-hopification of the NBA.

Any time you have a culture (such as the hip-hop culture) that worships criminality and blatant violence, then you are going to have people who behave like uncivilized louts.

Raping ho's, busting caps, blazing spliffs, etc are the behavior of criminals, not respectable adults.

So I say: put that shithead Artest in jail, ban him for the league, and set an example for all of sports.

Anyone who says sports are better with the Ron Artests, Terrell Owens, etc. acting like ignorant fools is obviously someone who was born post 1980.

If I was in charge, I would shoot ban any player that behaved like less than a good sportsman. Clean up the sports. Please.

posted by kinack at 02:45 PM on November 21

Mob mentality doesn't tend to suddenly disperse and assist the police...

It didn't get to the "mob mentality" level until Artest went into the stands. Most people want to watch the game, not get soaked by some asshole throwing beer. The fans became a "mob" when they saw Artest and his wingman Jackson clocking people wearing Pistons jerseys.

posted by dusted at 02:45 PM on November 21

Been beat to death, but here are my few points:

1) A player never, ever, EVER has a reason to go charing into the stands. Period. A guy throwing a beer on you in reason to commit assault? Give me a fucking break. Try that logic in court and see where it gets you.

2) The fans are too damned close to the players. Move 'em back at least 30 feet all the way around the court.

3) Any fan identified on video as being involved in starting this should never be allowed back in any NBA game, and should also be charged with assault.

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:47 PM on November 21

Welcome, Oscar Pine! Self-links are a no-no. You can put a link to your site in your profile (I see that you have).

posted by dusted at 02:48 PM on November 21

Any fan identified on video as being involved in starting this should never be allowed back in any NBA game, and should also be charged with assault.

That's fine in principle, but how about in practice -- how exactly do you identify the wrongdoers in the stands? And when you do, how do you prevent them from coming to another NBA arena? Facial scanning of all patrons? Try again.... It's accountability in one direction, and that can't work. Shut the fans out of a game or two and there will be better self-policing.

posted by smithers at 02:58 PM on November 21

Try that logic in court and see where it gets you.

A long way, if someone chucks a bottle o' beer across a bar at you and you're Joe Average.

posted by rodgerd at 03:01 PM on November 21

how exactly do you identify the wrongdoers in the stands?

Easy. You look at the videos, pick out the faces guilty of throwing beers and then you either plaster them all over TV until someone turns them all in or you wait for them to show up again at another game. You pretty much know who's sitting in those seats anyway, right?

A long way, if someone chucks a bottle o' beer across a bar at you and you're Joe Average.

Rxcept no one here threw a beer bottle. He got showered with a liquid and reacted by trying to beat the shit out of everyone within 50 feet of him. That's an overreaction in the eyes of the law, I'm guessing. Hopefully, we'll find out.

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:11 PM on November 21

Don't relief pitchers take worse (spit, batteries) while warming up in the bullpen?

posted by crank at 03:42 PM on November 21

He got showered with a liquid and reacted by trying to beat the shit out of everyone within 50 feet of him.

Well, he got hit in the chest with a plastic container. It wasn't like someone just poured the beer on him.

And he went after the person who he thought was the thrower.

He didn't grab the nearest person, or throw punches at everyone around him.

In fact, after he realized it WASN'T the thrower, he stopped attacking.

At that point the "tough guys" in the crowd started to get their shots in and it was too late. (I include Jackson as being a dumb-ass "tough guy" in this case.)

It didn't get to the "mob mentality" level until Artest went into the stands.

Um...did you see the fans behind the bench?

The moment Wallace shoved Artest and everyone started the on-court brouhaha, they were all standing up and yelling and encouraging the fight.

I'm pretty sure the "us-vs-them" mob mentality was already in full swing at that point.

Don't relief pitchers take worse (spit, batteries) while warming up in the bullpen?

Some do, but it's a rare occassion (outside of some nutbars in NY/Chi/Bos).

But the difference there is that there is usually a wall separating the players from the stands, so they can't go into the stands so easily.

But it has happened (like that Texas game this year) where players will retaliate.

posted by grum@work at 03:45 PM on November 21

He got showered with a liquid and reacted by trying to beat the shit out of everyone within 50 feet of him.

A player never, ever, EVER has a reason to go charing into the stands. Period.

Let's start with the last statement first since it's the easiest to disprove.

A player never, ever, EVER has a reason to go charging into the stands.

Really. What if the player's wife is at the game and a fan punched her?

Or is a player's daugher child was at the game and a fan threw a battery at her?

I thought so.

Lot's of people here are saying things that are not true.

Artest did not punch the guy in the stands ... Artest grabbed him by the collar.

Scary, yes but I doubt the guy was hurt.

He grabbed the guy and asked if he was thrower.

To me it looks like Artest stops when the guy says he wasn't the thrower.

So what's everyone's problem?

That Artest tried to grab the guy how nailed him with a beer?

I don't see a problem with that.

That Artest set off a riot by going into the stands? The riot is the NBA's and Detriot's fans fault.

posted by Mike McD at 04:25 PM on November 21

General discussion surrounding this incident does indeed bring into sharp relief how much the typical American (among others, certainly) so loves having strong opinions about things, and so doesn't love doing the basic homework required to support those opinions.

Hardly a new observation this month, but here it pops up again.

posted by taupe at 04:47 PM on November 21

This makes Tie Domi look like the model of restraint.

Never thought I'd say that.

posted by Samsonov14 at 04:47 PM on November 21

A player never, ever, EVER has a reason to go charging into the stands. Really. What if the player's wife is at the game and a fan punched her? Or is a player's daugher child was at the game and a fan threw a battery at her? I thought so.

That has nothing to do with what happened in Detroit.

Artest angrily ran up to an innocent person and put his hands on him, knocked him down.

His demeanor was very threatening.

How do you know the guys who punched Artest in the stands weren't this innocent man's brothers or friends?

At this point their actions might be self defense.

They have NO IDEA what Artest is going to do next- he's already attacked the guy.

posted by crank at 05:03 PM on November 21

I have to insist, once again, that being tackled by a huge brickhouse like Artest is going to hurt. Alot. That innocent bystander got leveled by Artest. Sure, he didn't punch the kid, but I bet he's still feeling the cross check. Check out the videotape, he hits the guy in the neck about the same way Wallace hit him, accept he has the full weight of his body behind it. That's assault. Put 5'10 160 skinny glasses guy next to 6'7 240 brickhouse Artest in front of a Jury and let them decide if what he did was legal. I'll tell you what, even if he had done the same thing to the guy that actually threw the plastic cup of beer at him (and unless my eyes deceive me, that's what it was, a PLASTIC CUP)he would still be totally in the wrong. If a 13 year old kid keys my car (hey, I'm not as big as Artest, so my victim has to be a 13 year old, Ok?) and I smack him around for it, we both broke the law, but only one of us goes to jail.

posted by sic at 05:24 PM on November 21

League decision just came down: Artest: Rest of the season Stephen Jackson: 30 games Jermaine O'Neal: 25 games Ben Wallace: 6 games Anthony Johnson: 5 games 4 others got a game. Many may or may not believe suspensions are effective or enough, but I would wager this ruins the Pacer's season. Players may never learn but ownership/management just mght figure it out when their playoff spot/possible title run is killed in November.

posted by pivo at 05:39 PM on November 21

Crank, Wfrazerjr said players are never, ever, EVER justified going into the stands.

My post is a response to his statement.

I didn't say it had anything to do with what happened in Detriot.

In fact, it doesn't have anything to do with what happened in Detroit other than to establish that there are circumstances where players are justified going into the stands.

Now we can argue the appropriate threshold for going into the stands.

posted by Mike McD at 05:40 PM on November 21

I don't even like Artest and I think he is getting jobbed. No one should be subjected to that kind of treatment.

posted by Mike McD at 05:47 PM on November 21

It's amazing how the longer this thread gets, the more ridiculous the punishment scenarios get.

Honestly? I think that the suspensions are dead on. Except Sports Network got it wrong.

posted by adampsyche at 06:01 PM on November 21

Mark Cuban is certainly wrong IMO in applauding Pacer fans at yesterday's close lose to the Magic. I think they're the kind of fools who perpetuate the bad behavior with their support.

posted by billsaysthis at 06:09 PM on November 21

2 - I feel like some of you might be misinterpreting his *suntanning*. Look, we know Artest has trouble controling his temper. Isn't possible that the *suntanning* was the equivalent of trying to take 10 deep breaths. Isn't that what your supposed to do ... lie down, relax, picture a warm beach?

He could have gone to the bench, no? It was provocative.

3 - He didn't hit the fan he went after. The fan said Artest grabbed him and was asking "did you throw it, did you throw it?" Someone hit Artest in the head with a full beer ... I don't have a problem with him trying to apprehend the guy who did it.

Are you high? Throwing a punch or not, he fucking assaulted the guy, no doubt about it. I do have a problem with him trying to apprehend the guy who did it. That's security's job.

4 - The guy who actually threw the beer was a major jerk.

Well, duh.

5 - Artest goes back down on the floor and another fan starts squaring up with him. Artest has just been hit in the head with an unknown object and sucker punched from behind at this point. I think he's justified in protecting him.

Ok, if a fan goes on the court and postures, Artest can defend himself. Fine. But, he does throw the first punch there, too.

In summary, this was the NBA's fault. The Detroit fans were treating the Pacers like they were animals in the zoo (IMO there's nothing I more repugnant than people who taunt animals at the zoo). For the NBA to put their players in an environment like that was negligent.

What are you talking about? What kind of environment? Were the Detroit fans any different than any other fans before the incident? Have you ever been to an Eagles game? The only stadium in the country with it's own freaking courthouse? Bottom line is that no one saw this coming, and if the security wasn't quick to react, well, fault them for that, but there wasn't an environment set up or anything. It was just another game. Until then.

posted by adampsyche at 06:10 PM on November 21

How far are we from a class-action suit from Pacer season ticket holders?

posted by yerfatma at 07:42 PM on November 21

How far are we from a class-action suit from Pacer season ticket holders?

Against who? Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, and Jermaine O'Neal, for attacking fans? The fans at the Palace, for attacking the players? The Pistons organization, for their security not responding quick enough? The NBA, for punishing the people they hold sway over? If the tables were turned, and Ben Wallce, Rasheed Wallace, and Chauncey Billups would've been suspended as the 3 Pacers were, I'd look at it as punishment for their crime. Sure, I'd be pissed, because 3 integral parts of my team were gone for a good chunk of the season, but those guys also have to think about that in the heat of the moment, and not get themselves into the situation where their seasons are held in the balance because of 15 stupid minutes of their lives. They made a choice, now they, and the rest of their team, has to live withthe consequences.

Not that I absolve anyone of blame. Ben Wallace should've gotten 10 games for his over-reaction to a hard foul. Chaucey, DC, and Elden should've stated their asses on the bench during the initial fight. Any fans arrested, whether Friday or in the future because of this, should be prosecuted past the limit of the law. And the Pistons organization need a much bigger security presense, along with a much better response time during any game, and especially during games with heated rivals.

All that said, the NBA had no choice but to hand down the suspensions they did. The players need to be hled accountable for their actions, and if the Pacers fans want to sue over it, then they need to go after those guys, for ruining the team's chance to get the East from Detroit...

posted by MeatSaber at 08:32 PM on November 21

What if the player's wife is at the game and a fan punched her? Or is a player's daugher child was at the game and a fan threw a battery at her?

Okay, I'll agree with you in this case. If you are stupid enough as an NBA player to bring your wife and children to a game and seat them with the drunks near the court and someone takes a swing at one of them, you are justified in going after them. You are also justified if a fan brings a thermonuclear device and appears to be intent on setting it off.

For clarity, you are NOT justified in charging into the stands if you are hit with any of the following objects:

beer
water
any non-frozen liquid that does not classify as an acid
an empty milk jug
pieces of paper
a hat (pith helmets and those spiky German things excluded)
pithy remarks
not-so-pithy remarks
another paternity suit

As for the suspensions, sounds about right to me, except I think the Pistons as an organization have to somehow be held more accountable for the incredible stupidity of their fans. A couple games in an empty house sounds just dandy to me.

posted by wfrazerjr at 08:54 PM on November 21

You guys are so outta hand on this. Artest should not have gone into the stands. Period. Nothing before or after makes it anymore rational or right. He also shouldn't have hard fouled Wallace up by 10 with that much time left. The rest is just garnish.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:15 PM on November 21

There is enough blame to go around.

It was a situation where a lot of things came togather. Artest, surely got what his actions warrented.

There needs to be more emphasis on fan behavior.

Some have said more security was needed.

Adding more security is a tricky thing.

Obviously, before this happened, the people in charge felt that security was adequete for the event.

I bet we see a big change in how security is handled.

I feel that the "fans" need to be responsiable for thier actions.

Throwing anyting, be it solid or liquid, should not be allowed or tolerated.

Just because you shell out money for a ticket, doesn't give you the right to act like an idiot.

We expect our pro athletes to "act professional" and not react to fan abuse.

What about fans?

What are the expectations for them???

Hopefully we will see some positive changes out of this.

after-all its only a game!

posted by daddisamm at 09:16 PM on November 21

One thing I am looking for as more information comes out is how Stern and the league explain why Jackson got 30 games and O'Neil 25 (and six for Wallace and five for Johnson). I mean, how did they quantify the length of suspension versus behavior. Did relative salaries (with which I'm unfamiliar) come into play? Number of punches? The whole season for Artest, from this perspective only, is easier to understand although if I'm Artest or his agent, manager or lawyer, I might ask for the explanation too.

posted by billsaysthis at 09:40 PM on November 21

For clarity, you are NOT justified in charging into the stands if you are hit with any of the following objects...

what about a keychain?

posted by goddam at 10:10 PM on November 21

The most insane thing I've seen out of all this...if you go to TSN's NBA page, there's a picture of Artest grappling with Rick Mahorn. Now, I know Horn isn't exactly a spring chicken any more, and certainly hasn't missed any meals since he retired, but that picture alone should help Artest in a "innocent by reason of insanity" plea...

posted by MeatSaber at 10:22 PM on November 21

You are also justified if a fan brings a thermonuclear device and appears to be intent on setting it off.

I'm guessing in that case the player would be running awaaaay from the fan ;)

posted by justgary at 10:28 PM on November 21

I wonder how long the suspensions will be reduced to after the NBAPA appeals on behalf of all suspended. It isn't the kangaroo court that MLB is but I'm sure we'll see some of these come down.

I think the idea of a couple of empty arena games is a great idea and will certainly send a message to the fans that they need to observe and not participate. It will also encourage fans to police themselves before something like this happens. It also puts a financial onus on the team encouraging more security and less tolerance but shouldn't take away from those there to enjoy the sporting event.

As far as how the players reacted to the foul, that is what the referees are for and why there is such a thing as a flagrant foul.

How do you suppose this will affect the CBA bargaining if at all?

How many of us are glad it didn't happen in our team's arena? I actually feel for the real Pistons fans, the ones that know how to and how not to act.

posted by geekyguy at 10:51 PM on November 21

I think the idea of a couple of empty arena games is a great idea and will certainly send a message to the fans that they need to observe and not participate.

Absolutely. Stern said that the suspensions were just the 'playing side' punishments. I definitely think closed-doors games need to be imposed on the Pistons as part of the 'crowd side' disciplinary stuff. Of course, that might lead to lawsuits from the team owners for loss of revenue, but who cares?

posted by etagloh at 11:10 PM on November 21

I think that the relative scale of the suspensions are adequate. Artest gets by far the largest penalty because his reaction to the beer throwing is what sparked a riot. Starting a riot is a bigger deal than punching someone because it creates a dangerous situation for the hundreds of people still in the arena. Stephen Jackson gets more than O'Neal because he went into the stands to punch fans not to restrain or protect Artest and was generally inciting the riot by his actions. O'Neal gets 25 because he cowardly sucker punched that fat guy, who had already been put on the floor by Artest's punch, after taking a long running start. That guy never threw a punch at anybody. Wallace gets a slightly above normal suspension for smacking Artest and throwing a towel at him. Some would argue that the riot is his fault, but his actions were pretty normal, those types of pushing fights with a lot of posturing happen several times a season in the NBA.

That's the relative scale. Personally, I think that Artest should be banned for life (and brought back after a couple of seasons like Sprewell) and Jackson should lose the season. 25 games for O'Neal seems fair, because although he's not justified in sucker punching the guy, anytime a fan comes on the court in a threatening way, he's asking for trouble.

posted by sic at 02:14 AM on November 22

Artest got off easy. If anyone who is not a pro-player were to attack a coworker or a customer, they would loose their jobs AND be in jail.

posted by jlbelt at 04:15 AM on November 22

what about a keychain?

Or a cup of stinking root beer?

posted by yerfatma at 06:38 AM on November 22

A few comments from a chickenshit nebbish with the reasoning abilities of the typical American:

Detroit should be punished for the actions of fans near the court. A month-long beer ban at the Palace and criminal prosecution for identified participants -- as they do with college riots these days -- would send the right message.

However, what Ron Artest did on Friday night is significantly worse than the actions of a few beer-throwing dumbasses in the stands.

I can't believe the number of people on SportsFilter who believe it's acceptable for Artest to go charging six rows into the crowd throwing haymakers, hoping one of the targets is the fan who threw a beer at him.

That's completely irrational, and anyone who defends Artest now with benefit of hindsight has judgment as bad as the Pistons fans who entered the fray. You shouldn't be allowed to attend pro sporting events until you grow up.

There's no "dignity for your own self" in throwing a beer at someone. There's no "dignity for your own self" in punching someone in retaliation. There's no "dignity for your own self" in any of that footage -- just a bunch of stupid people who can't control their anger and a few isolated peacemakers like Reggie Miller trying desperately to quell a riot.

Charging into a crowd with fists flying set a chain of events in motion that could have gotten someone seriously hurt or killed, like the elderly fan underneath the scrum or a child trampled by fleeing spectators. One of the criminal charges that Artest should be facing is inciting a riot.

Artest was playing with his life and career by assaulting fans, regardless of the reason. Anyone who hits someone runs the risk that the recipient of a punch would keel over dead, either from a freak injury or heart trouble aggravated by stress.

Pro boxers have been charged with felony assault for hitting people outside the ring. How would Artest look in court -- a 6-foot-7, 250-pound, son of a Golden Gloves boxer in prime physical condition -- if he hospitalized a fan a foot shorter and 100 pounds lighter?

Regardless of what was thrown at him or said to him, Artest was still a professional athlete who makes $63,000 a game, and his tormentors were a handful of random drunk-ass sports fans, many of whom wish they made that in a year.

If we can't count on the millionaires to keep enough of their temper in check to avoid turning an on-court melee into an off-court riot, the NBA is doomed. Because I know we can't count on an arena full of boozed-up fans to be idiot free.

The league can't fill its arenas without families taking their kids, watching their games, and buying their merchandise.

I just blew $150 on tickets 20 rows up for my boys to see Shaquille O'Neal for the first time later this season. We've become renewed fans of the NBA because of the last Finals.

How many parents are going to take kids into an environment where we have to be concerned about what athletes and fans are going to do to each other?

This incident is going to cost every NBA player money in the long run.

posted by rcade at 08:17 AM on November 22

Since Stern sits in on the appeals, I dont see much change happening with the suspensions.....

posted by daddisamm at 08:17 AM on November 22

Or a cup of stinking root beer?

Hansens get a special dispensation ;-) I just caught a sound-bite off Mike and Mike in the Morning, so I don't know the source (and couldn't track it down on the net -- probably a players' association talking head) call Artest's suspension "unjust and unprecedented given the nature of the offense" (I'm not sure that's the exact wording, but it's very close).

Not that logic would have anything to do with what the PA, or any other player-apologists, would say...but the brawl itself was unprecedented, as ESPN.com's Marc Stein pointed out, so it's not surprising that the punishment would be too. But there are and will be plenty of apologists for the players, including this beaut from Bob Backstrom, world-reknowned sportswriter for the Oroville (CA) Mercury-Register, arguing that Artest should have received a fine and a two-week suspension, and blaming the closeness of the fans to the action for the brawl.

In this poorly-edited piece of spoiled-millionaire adulation, Backstrom writes, "How would you fee[sic] if you were sitting at your desk and someone came in and hit you in the face with a soda? What would you do?"

How I would feel is beside the point; it's what I would do that has consequences.

I deal with the public in the course of my work, too; most of us do.

Sometimes, the public that I deal with gets irate over things that have nothing to do with me.

I've yet to have one hit me in the face with a soda, but if one ever did, I can say with certainty that I would not go charging into a crowd of customers looking for the culprit so I could administer a head-punching.

If I did anything of the sort, I would expect to be fired and to be on the wrong end of some criminal charges.

Artest is lucky.

If he gets even luckier, he'll have someone explain to him just how lucky he is, and he'll listen to that person.

If he doesn't want to listen, he's free to live on what he's made so far (minus any judgments against him) and work on his musical career.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:42 AM on November 22

As disturbing as it was, I found it incredibly entertaining, in a pro wrestling, sense.

Shit, this is why I watch COPS. Especially O'Neal's punch.

Best criminal assualt of the year, imo.

posted by garfield at 09:01 AM on November 22

oh yeah, btw...do you think the NBA is going to continue to show that commercial with Artest banging his head and saying, "Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!"? ;-)

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:11 AM on November 22

I can't believe the number of people on SportsFilter who believe it's acceptable for Artest to go charging six rows into the crowd throwing haymakers, hoping one of the targets is the fan who threw a beer at him.

Me neither.

I don't buy into the whole there-is-no-excuse-for-going-into-the-stands thing.

But Artest didn't see the person who threw the beer at him.

He just went off swinging at the first convenient target.

Artest is clearly violently unstable and probably insane.

Jackson is not much better.

posted by dzot at 09:18 AM on November 22

I can't believe the number of people on SportsFilter who believe it's acceptable for Artest to go charging six rows into the crowd throwing haymakers, hoping one of the targets is the fan who threw a beer at him.

I don't know if people find it acceptable.

My thought was that I find it understandable.

It's a minor difference, but more to my liking.

I don't condone it, or think that he SHOULD have done it. I just understand his reaction.

Artest is clearly violently unstable and probably insane. Jackson is not much better.

Can we also apply our layman psychological diagnosis to Wallace and the Piston fans? I'm pretty sure they are all certifiably coo-coo-for-cocoa-puffs as well. Blech.

posted by grum@work at 09:56 AM on November 22

Especially O'Neal's punch. Best criminal assualt of the year, imo.

No doubt, boo, no doubt. When you add in the slipping on beer at the same time . . . [applause]. I don't agree with the whole melee or going into the stands (unless you're a Bruin in the '70s, then it's cool and manly and tough because you are white and closer to my tax bracket), but I'm getting creeped out by the backlash to the backlash. John Feinstein was on NPR this morning describing the players as though he were a zookepper, saying (as best I can recall), "You can see the damage they are capable of if one of them goes bezerk."

I'm still torn between loving and hating Ron Artest. Brother's interesting, and that's better than 95% of the NBA.

posted by yerfatma at 10:05 AM on November 22

"I can't believe the number of people on SportsFilter who believe it's acceptable for Artest to go charging six rows into the crowd throwing haymakers, hoping one of the targets is the fan who threw a beer at him."

rcade, while I do not disagree with your sentiments, it is unfair to reinterpret what really happened.

It is typical for us to view an event and then move further away from its reality in our descriptions.

If you view the tape, Artest did not go into the stands "throwing haymakers." Jackson did.

He aggressively grabbed the boy who he thought threw the drink.

(The boy later said that Artest was asking if he was the one who threw the drink at him.)

I am not excusing the action.

I am just stating what happened and what didn't happen.

I do not believe Artest threw one punch while he was in the stands.

Again, he should not have been in the stands, but it is unfair to suggest that he went "into the crowd throwing haymakers."

Here's the question:

We all agree that there is an important line that must be respected between the fans and the players.

If a fan crosses the line and goes onto the field of play, most people agree that it is okay for a player to retaliate.

We treat this line as "sacred."

But what happens when objects cross the line?

I think there must be more discussion on this kind of transgression and the proper response.

(And I am not suggesting that the proper response is to let players run into the stands.)

It is one thing to hurl verbal insults; it is quite another to hurl actual objects.

While it is reasonable for the NBA to tell its players to withstand verbal insults, is it reasonable for the NBA to tell its players to withstand objects being thrown at them?

If so, then I think there needs to be definite rules and procedures in place.

Here's a suggestion.

If a fan throws any object at a visiting player, then the visiting team is able to immediately withdraw from the field of play and the home team must forfeit the game.

It would be wrong for the NBA to require players to withstand objects being thrown at them but also insist that they continue to play in the arena.

posted by jacknose at 10:09 AM on November 22

My God. No, if a fan goes onto (or attacks in any way) the field of play, it is NOT okay for a player to retaliate.

Venue security is responsible for apprehending the fan. This thing we have called a "legal system" is responsible for administering punishment.

Of course, anybody is entitled to self-defence, but sucker punches? Artest had no right to wade into the crowd and attack anybody.

Maybe he felt he would have lost credibility as a basketball player/rapper if he hadn'tsee kinack's comment above but he deserves every single game of that suspension, and whatever jail time may be coming to him.

The fans who escalated the incident should also face legal consequences, and the investigation is ongoing.

Three-quarters of this thread is advocating vigilante justice.

Player-on-player sports assault is sometimes in a grey area because it takes place in the context of a game (i.e. The Bertuzzi Incident), but player-on-fan or fan-on-player assault is not.

The context is the real world, and the consequences should fit that context.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 10:30 AM on November 22

We all agree that there is an important line that must be respected between the fans and the players. If a fan crosses the line and goes onto the field of play, most people agree that it is okay for a player to retaliate.

Well, I don't! Look, as I pointed out above, there are plenty of situations where people are being paid to do a job, in the course of which they take heat from the public.

The difference is that most of the time, it's the workers who make significantly less than the customers, not the other way around.

So do you think some poor shlub being paid minimum wage should show more restraint than someone being paid millions to do their job?

I got a news flash: the McDonald's Corporation, and any number of employers paying low wages, expect more restraint from their workers than anyone, including David Stern, expects of Ron Artest.

If an annoyed customer pitched a supersize cup of Mountain Dew at a McDonald's employee, the store manager would ask the customer to leave the store, and might call the cops if the customer refused. He/she might offer to pay to have the uniform laundered, but probably not.

If the employee could prove an injury, that would be covered under worker's comp.

But if the employee went across the counter and started swinging at the customer, said employee would get his/her ass fired instantly, and would never be able to wear that paper hat again.

And I'll bet the company would enthusiastically cooperate in the pressing of criminal charges against said employee.

One thing they sure as hell would not do is "agree that it is okay...to retaliate."

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:41 AM on November 22

Venue security is responsible for apprehending the fan. This thing we have called a "legal system" is responsible for administering punishment. We all agree that there is an important line that must be respected between the fans and the players . . . Well, I don't!

Tell that to the Kansas City Royals first base coach who got the shit kicked out of him by a couple of inbred Chi-towners who wound up with 0 jail time from suspended sentences. Also, introducing wage levels into a discussion about proper human behavior is not helpful. Bringing up "millionaire" status sounds like "that nigger should be grateful for what he has" to me.

posted by yerfatma at 10:56 AM on November 22

Sorry, I should have been more specific. If a fan crosses the line with the intent to hurt a player, then I think there is an argument to be made about retaliating.

Of course, if there happens to be security around to stop this person, then all the better.

I am not advocating vigilante justice, and I am certainly not celebrating the violence (nor am I seeking to justify it).

posted by jacknose at 10:57 AM on November 22

NYTimes op-ed: The Heckler's Code, by Robin Fickler, "an attorney, sat behind the opposing team's bench at Washington Bullets' home games for 12 years."

posted by garfield at 10:57 AM on November 22

Bringing up "millionaire" status sounds like "that nigger should be grateful for what he has" to me.

That's way over the top, yerfatma. No one has even mentioned race, so you'll have to look to yourself if that's the way you took it.

posted by dusted at 11:07 AM on November 22

Rcade Artest to go charging six rows into the crowd throwing haymakers Your post is COMPLETELY DISHONEST (I assume you've watched the tape at this point so I have to assume that you know you're not being truthful).

Artest was not throwing haymakers in the stands.

I've watched a couple tapes and I have yet to see one where Artest is throwing punches in the stands.

What I see is Artest grab the guy who he thinks is responsible and knock him backwards over a chair.

Then he gets attacked from behind by Detroit fans.

When Artest comes back down on the floor a fan approaches him and squares up to start fighting, at which point Artest pops him

Furthermore, I don't know what kind of job you'all work at, but there are certainly a lot of jobs and circumstances where you're likely to get stomped if you throw a full cup of beer in someone's face, and it's perfectly acceptable.

Throw a cup of beer at a stripper.

You're getting stomped.

Throw a cup of beer at a bouncer in a club.

You're getting stomped.

Throw a cup of beer at an rapper or a rock band.

You're getting stomped.

Do not pass go and do not expect any love from the courts.

Notice a theme? These are all entertainment events.

So don't get all sanctimonious and make out like this is so unthinkable or unusual or out of line with what goes on in the rest of the world.

posted by Mike McD at 11:24 AM on November 22

pulls up a chair, grabs a soda and popcorn, waits for next volley.

posted by garfield at 11:29 AM on November 22

No one has even mentioned race

Maybe not explicitly, but if you re-read the thread, it weaves itself in and out fairly often. Hell, I even did it in my own post. Maybe stylistically over the top, but certainly an appropriate question.

posted by smithers at 11:29 AM on November 22

yerfatma carefully removed context from the following comment:

We all agree that there is an important line that must be respected between the fans and the players. If a fan crosses the line and goes onto the field of play, most people agree that it is okay for a player to retaliate.

...by deleting the second sentence, and then added the first sentence of my response, so that it now read:

We all agree that there is an important line that must be respected between the fans and the players . . . Well, I don't!

Having deftly constructed a strawman and hung a "Sucker-punch me" sign on it, he then took me to task, beginning with:

Tell that to the Kansas City Royals first base coach...

...citing an example of a fan charging onto a field to assault a coach, and thereby implying that I had made a statement that fans crossing into player-space were just fine and dandy, when, quite clearly, I was responding to the statement about retaliation being justified.

I had included the first sentence (which talked about the line between fans and players) to provide context, since the second sentence (to which I was responding) made reference to the crossing of the line.

I'm not quite sure how to score this one. Extra points for audacity and perhaps a small bonus for the gratuitous and irrelevant playing of the race card, I'd say.

I'm not sure how he'll do on the baseline score, though.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:36 AM on November 22

No one has even mentioned race Maybe not explicitly, but if you re-read the thread, it weaves itself in and out fairly often. Hell, I even did it in my own post. Maybe stylistically over the top, but certainly an appropriate question.

Not in the context of an axe being ground, smithers.

If I said the sky was grey, yerfatma would accuse me of being an ecoterrorist.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:37 AM on November 22

No one has even mentioned race, so you'll have to look to yourself if that's the way you took it.

I'm talking about the discussion of this situation in general, not just on Spofi, but are you honestly saying race hasn't been brought up at all?

"Welcome to the hip-hopification of the NBA. Any time you have a culture (such as the hip-hop culture) that worships criminality and blatant violence, then you are going to have people who behave like uncivilized louts."

posted by yerfatma at 11:41 AM on November 22

If I said the sky was grey, yerfatma would accuse me of being an ecoterrorist.

In no way was I accusing you of anything. I was using the two lines to illustrate a larger point (and, given our past hx, probably should have said so). All the talk of how the players should have acted suggests they live in a vacuum where none of these other sports-related assaults have happened. The idea of some invisibile line around the court that demarcates whether a fan attacked the player or vice-versa is silly. The line is crossed whenever fans enter into the action. Asking young men who have been competing at the height of athletic achievement for 47 minutes to turn around and act as sober as judges is asking too much.

posted by yerfatma at 11:46 AM on November 22

Great point Yerfatma, I have a slightly different take on it. Don't we live in America, where all people are treated equally.

I'm suprised that more Spofites don't think that athletes (millionaires or not) deserve to be treated with basic human decency.

posted by Mike McD at 11:49 AM on November 22

A followup from a dishonest racist chickenshit nebbish with the reasoning abilities of the typical American:

I just watched the live game footage again. Artest charged into the stands and swung his left hand at a scrawny fan's face, pushing him violently to the ground with both hands as the guy raised his arms to defend himself.

Artest then reared back his right hand to punch the guy but was stopped by several fans.

He hit the guy's face with an open slap, threw him to the ground with both hands, and pulled his right arm back to punch the guy when he was down. It's clearly assault.

Artest was so irrational at that point he picked a fan still holding a beer -- the slowpoke in a crowd of possible miscreants who wasn't smart enough or quick enough to flee. Does anyone really believe one of the league's most notorious hotheads was going up there to give someone a stern talking-to? We can argue about whether Artest's initial gesture was a haymaker if you like, but that seems like a weird point to rally his defense around.

As does the bogus claim that I suggested millionaires deserve to be abused. Artest's money is worth noting because he's paid a lot of money for the privilege of being a professional athlete. I think it's reasonable to hold him to a much higher standard of conduct than the average fan.

posted by rcade at 12:05 PM on November 22

How does this comes down to "Detroit Fans" and the Pistons being responsible for them on some level. First of these weren't true fans nor were they representative of the majority.

These were drunks, assholes and drunk assholes in on this, the section actually cleared out for the most part when the incident started. Look around you, wherever you are at whatever sporting event (or just about any large gathering of people), you will see a few drunks, a few assholes and a few drunk assholes, I almost guarantee it. There is not an arena in the league this could not have happened in, and anyone saying it would never happen here is lying to themselves. This isn't a problem in Detroit as much as a problem in the league. If the NBA wants to market the me first, thug life mentality this is what they are going to get.

The suspensions were overall just, though I probably would have given Jackson a bit more (he went in the stands and DID go in swinging the haymakers) and O'Neal a bit less (Didn't go in the stands, and the guy was on the court). Players, outside any extremist devil's advocate examples someone wants to throw up, should never go into the stands and conversely, but even moreso, fans should never go on the playing surface. Hopefully, if any good comes of this, it is the first step in cleaning up the NBA's image. Most of us in our place of employ don't get three shots at a drug test followed by a temporary suspension. We don't get sent to another company for a DUI or domestic abuse. We don't get to hold a press conference to address our weapons brandishing charges. We don't get a private plane from work to our trial for rape. The players represent the team, on and off the court (do we call them the Jailblazers because of how they play?) and the teams and the league really need to start cleaning up their acts, on and off the court.

posted by pivo at 12:07 PM on November 22

I think it's reasonable to hold him to a much higher standard of conduct than the average fan.

I understand this argument, but don't you think the basic underlying issue for players and fans is a lack of respect for other people? God help me, but I was agreeing with Mitch Albom on the radio at lunch, that the whole thing boils down to perceptions of "disrespect". If Wallace could have ignored Artest or Crazy Ron could have ignored the fans or if the fans could have avoided Crazy Ron, no big deal. But we're all so obsessed with letting people know they dissed us nowadays.

And then Mitch said the foundation of rap music was disrespecting people. And I turned the station.

posted by yerfatma at 12:09 PM on November 22

Four out of 10 people polled by ESPN.Com believe a person had "a right to defend him or herself" in Artest's situation.

Sheesh. No wonder the Palace had so many morons in the lower deck Friday night. They're all over the place.

There's no excuse for throwing a beer or anything else at a player or a ref. I said the same thing years ago when the Dawg Pound did it in Cleveland and I have the same opinion today.

But charging up into the stands over a faceful of beer is not self-defense. Under the commonly accepted legal doctrine, for a person to act in justifiable self-defense, you must be rational enough to correctly apprehend the danger you are in and able to respond with the minimum reasonable action required to prevent it. There's nothing rational or reasonable about Artest's actions.

I liked Albom's column about the true meaning of respect (though I can't stand his sanctimonious Tuesdays with Moralizing personality), but I think he and others shouldn't deny Artest his props as the person who made this headline news around the globe. If he doesn't overreact to a beer shower, it's just an ugly shoving match on the court that no one remembers a week later.

posted by rcade at 12:27 PM on November 22

This thread is almost as entertaining as the incident itself. Pass us some of that popcorn garfield.

posted by squealy at 12:34 PM on November 22

I said: If I said the sky was grey, yerfatma would accuse me of being an ecoterrorist.

and yerfatma replied: In no way was I accusing you of anything. I was using the two lines to illustrate a larger point (and, given our past hx, probably should have said so). All the talk of how the players should have acted suggests they live in a vacuum where none of these other sports-related assaults have happened. The idea of some invisibile line around the court that demarcates whether a fan attacked the player or vice-versa is silly. The line is crossed whenever fans enter into the action. Asking young men who have been competing at the height of athletic achievement for 47 minutes to turn around and act as sober as judges is asking too much.

What you have to say makes a lot of sense (and I retract my accusation of axe-grinding...in fact, how 'bout we just bury that SOB, somewhere other than in each others' heads?).

Yet unless I'm mistaken, the space between fans and the action (coaches, officials and players) hasn't gotten any smaller in recent years, and existing barriers (if any) haven't been torn down (at least in basketball -- I think maybe in some MLB ballparks, they've added more seating down close to the field).

So what's different now?

Are we expecting a level of restraint that no one expected in the days of Bird et al? Are the fans that much more badly behaved?

Or is there no comparison case, since there wasn't a brawl among players in that era that went on for so long and so publicly?

As for expecting the players to be sober as a judge under that kind of provocation, I don't know if that is a reasonable expectation or not -- but it is the expectation leveled at me and thee and every other ordinary person who deals with an occasionally irate public -- outside, perhaps, of the province of bars, and even there I'm not so sure if I believe the bouncers have the proverbial licence to kill. I am quite sure that if an employee in any other workplace ever did retaliate with fists for a flung beer, HR's take on it would be, "Yes, he was wrong, but your response should have been to call security, not take a swing at him, that was inappropriate, and we're going to have to let you go."

Even in workplaces where the customer is physically in your face being irate, you're expected to exercise that level of restraint, and it's not considered superhuman -- it's what people in many jobs are expected to do as a matter of course.

So I don't buy the argument that the players' actions in charging the stands is what anybody would do.

It's what a lot of people don't do, in order to keep their jobs and stay out of jail.

Finally, re: the money thing, I disagree with the argument that because they're millionaires, therefore they should be expected to take large amounts of grief.

But as much as the rest of us, they should be expected to take large amounts of grief if that's what comes with the job and they're taking the paycheck, whatever the number of zeroes is.

And you know what?

I'm all in favor of the NBA players getting together to put the heat on management for making them work in abusive conditions, and not doing what they could to alleviate that.

If any workers, even millionaire workers, can start to question whether taking large amounts of grief should be part of anybody's job, I figure it'll only help the rest of us.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:41 PM on November 22

Thank you for the clarification lbb. I agree far more with you now than before, for what it's worth.

The only thing I would add to what you said about "that was inappropriate, and we're going to have to let you go" is an extension of my personal dignity post from before that rcade was such a fan of. Basically, I wasn't trying to say that Artest should be immune from penalty, but that if he could look in the mirror and believe he did the right thing (whether that is retaliate or turn the other cheek) and was willing to accept the consequences of his actions, then nothing else really matters.

posted by smithers at 01:15 PM on November 22

First of these weren't true fans nor were they representative of the majority.

I hate that line of argument.

They were fans, and they were at the game.

There wasn't just 3 or 4 guys who were throwing things, it was almost a torrential downpour of stuff on the players leaving the court at the end of the melee.

And there were many more that couldn't lob drinks or punches but were definitely cheering the altercations.

These were drunks, assholes and drunk assholes in on this, the section actually cleared out for the most part when the incident started.

Because even drunk assholes realize that standing in the way of a charging giant isn't the best idea.

It's amazing that people will step up and say that "these fans don't represent the majority", but they sure seem anxious to announce slap the "arrogant, childish millionaire" tag on all professional athletes when one or two go nuts.

they should be expected to take large amounts of grief if that's what comes with the job and they're taking the paycheck, whatever the number of zeroes is.

Why does the "large amount of grief" come with the job?

They are paid the big paycheque because of their talent in a specific sport, not for their ability to withstand abuse from fans and the media.

Booing because of a botched play or losing a game is fine.

Having people make racial slurs, shout comments about your personal life and screetch suggestions that you perform self-fornication should not be considered accepted or "expected", and it's a pretty sad state of affairs when this is considered "okay".

posted by grum@work at 01:26 PM on November 22

how 'bout we just bury that SOB Done and done.

Are the fans that much more badly behaved? Or is there no comparison case, since there wasn't a brawl among players in that era that went on for so long and so publicly?

I don't know that fans are truly more loutish or if there's just more publicity. I do think the increasing distance in paychecks has made fans more vicious and raised their expectations of what athletes should endure1.

My gut reaction is that fans are worse because I think the level of politeness in this country has gone to Hell, but I know the immediate counter-argument is: sure, if you're white, male and well-off. Not sure if it helps, but I can think of at least one comparison case. I also remember an ugly incident involving Jim Rice's hat in Yankee Stadium.

1. I can't remember the last time I attended a pro sporting event and enjoyed myself 100% thanks to the tools around me. I mean, if I'd been in the same section with the guy who was making fun of Vernon Maxwell's stillborn child, I'd have held the guy down for that psycho All-Star guard to whale on. That may fall under "Two wrongs don't make a right," but I bet it would provide the matching object lesson David Stern is looking for.

posted by yerfatma at 01:49 PM on November 22

Artest's money is worth noting because he's paid a lot of money for the privilege of being a professional athlete. I think it's reasonable to hold him to a much higher standard of conduct than the average fan.

So you think we should have TWO sets of rules in this country: one for millionaire athletes and one for everyone else?

posted by Mike McD at 02:10 PM on November 22

and I would agree with yerfatma. I'm guessing fan behavior has gotten worse.

Somehow I don't remember fans throwing beers at L. Bird.

posted by Mike McD at 02:13 PM on November 22

We need to hold both fans and athletes to a high standard. I agree with rcade that professional athletes need to act like professionals. I also agree with Mike McD that fans need to clean up their act: I think we can all agree that drunk boors in the stands make the game less fun.

With regards to the suspensions, the only changes I'd make is to suspend Jackson for the rest of the season. At least Artest was provoked. Jackson, it appears, just went into the stands to crack some skulls. As for the fans, they need to be punished too. Two closed-door home games for the Pistons, and appropriate criminal charges for the dickwads throwing beers, chairs, and punches.

From yerfatma's linked article: After 10 minutes of scuffling during which Milbury removed a fan's shoe and beat him with it,

Ah, those were the days, when you could beat a man with his own shoes. Now everyone's all about throwing punches and metal chairs. I blame hip-hop.

posted by rocketman at 02:20 PM on November 22

Ah, those were the days, when you could beat a man with his own shoes.

Line of the week.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:38 PM on November 22

Isn't it ironic...don't ya think?

posted by MeatSaber at 02:52 PM on November 22

So you think we should have TWO sets of rules in this country: one for millionaire athletes and one for everyone else?

Do the math, Mike.

The fans who assaulted players are likely to face criminal charges if identified. I expect they will be stripped of their season tickets and banned from the arena, perhaps for life.

But when they rid the league of these morons, new ones will undoubtedly take their place. You don't combine thousands of people with millions of gallons of alcohol without creating a harmonic convergence of stupid.

So, yes, millionaire athletes have to behave better than the average abusive sports fan who is drunk off his ass. When they don't, we get Friday night.

posted by rcade at 02:55 PM on November 22

Cup thrower ID'd

posted by garfield at 03:15 PM on November 22

grum said: Can we also apply our layman psychological diagnosis to Wallace and the Piston fans? I'm pretty sure they are all certifiably coo-coo-for-cocoa-puffs as well.

No.

They are disgusting brainless assclowns who deserve whatever bitch-slapping and/or jail time they get. It's a subtle, but important, distinction.

The fans anyway, Wallace just overreacted and got physical in a way that happens at some point in about 30% of all NBA games.

If Artest spotted the the jackoff who whipped his beer at him and cracked him one, I really wouldn't think it was that bad.

Not the smartest move, and he would have been fined and suspended for a while, but that I could understand.

That's not what Artest did; he went pyscho and flailed away at the first poor schmuck he came across. Irrationally directed violence.

That's what makes him insane.

And it makes him a coward -- he back right off when Wallace shoved him cuz he knew he would get beaten to a pulp, but went after some random guy half his size when he got hit by a beer.

posted by dzot at 03:41 PM on November 22

There is a strong sentiment in this thread that reprehensible behavior by fans is a fact of life.

I'll call it the *there will always be drunk morons* argument.

But I don't accept the premise that the *drunk moron* is an inevitable fact of life.

No, I've been to plenty of places where they put a premium on the atmoshpere and have a zero tolerance for *drunk morons*.

Pretty much every good strip club in the country, for example.

The second someone acts up the bouncers stomp em.

And suprise suprise ... most of the patrons manage to behave themselves.

So I really don't see why we should we accept the inevitablity of the *drunk moron*? If the Crazy Horse can control their patrons why can't the NBA?

Aren't we, and every NBA player, entitled to expect a world free of *drunk morons*?

posted by Mike McD at 03:44 PM on November 22

But rcade, you mention going to a Heat game with your boys in the future. What are you more worried about: a player charging into the stands and laying down punches, or fans throwing beer and popcorn and low insults - that may or may not be age-appropriate for your sons - toward the court?

Which is more likely to happen?

I agree that the athletes need to always be on their best behavior, but I think we need more effort from the fans too. If, as yerfatma's comment suggests, a fan was riffing on an athlete's stillborn child? That just lacks class. I'd be embarrassed to be associated with that.

posted by rocketman at 03:46 PM on November 22

Pretty much every good strip club in the country, for example.

You've been to every good strip club in the country?

Dude, can I hang with you?

posted by dzot at 04:10 PM on November 22

squealy, you like butter, right? pinch of salt as well, then?

posted by garfield at 05:06 PM on November 22

It's this willingness to assume, from often sloppy, superficial and lazy observation, that one knows the underlying facts of a situation with sufficient completeness to justify indulging one's urges towards self-righteousness, that prompted my comment about the "typical American" that offended rcade so very, very much.

That it's better to feel justified than to be justified is, for just one example, why at least a hundred thousand people are dead and a good hunk of southwest Asia is going to be a big version of Beirut for the next fifty years or so.

A centuries-old tradition of anti-intellectualism underpinned it, talk radio fueled it, an election certified it, and now nothing can fucking stop it.

Do you wonder why I might be sore about it? And obviously I wish rcade hadn't illustrated my point exactly with the "haymakers" distortion, even if he did retreat tactically into the "clearly assault" stance when he was called on it.

And even then, I'd think that if we're indeed insisting on deference to civilised society's means of meteing out proper retribution for injustice, we should wait for the jury trial, complete with depositions from the fan Artest confronted (the one who said that Artest asked him "did you do it"), the fans and staff members around him, and Artest himself, before even calling Artest's actions (in that setting, anyway) "clearly assault".

This isn't a niggling technicality, either -- "reared back his right hand to punch the guy but was stopped by several fans" is an interpretation of Artest's motives, and even of the action itself, based on a view of the incident from a single camera angle, and before we can actually rule out other hypotheses including "reared back his right hand to strike but then stopped himself" or "raised his right arm for some other reason", we can really use the additional information.

The same goes for the "shove", the "open slap", and really everything else.

In the meantime, feel free to say "ARTEST SMASH!" another half dozen times, at the risk of further deflecting toward one (hardly blameless) guy and away from any possible broader systemic ill arising from the marriage of base human impulses and greed.

Maybe someone will put forward a more convincing argument about the particulars. I'd welcome it -- that is in fact the only way to get to the right answer, which is the whole point.

Respect for the basic intellectual disciplines of, one, acknowledging the limits of one's own knowledge of fact, and two, caring enough to work to expand those limits, has reached an ebb in the society I unfortunately lack the means to flee, and this more than anything is why we're all irrevocably screwed.

posted by taupe at 06:18 PM on November 22

Well said taupe!

posted by Mike McD at 06:28 PM on November 22

we should wait for the jury trial, complete with depositions from the fan Artest confronted (the one who said that Artest asked him "did you do it"), the fans and staff members around him, and Artest himself, before even calling Artest's actions (in that setting, anyway) "clearly assault".

I'd agree with you if we were in a courtroom setting or even on the pages of the New York Times, but we're not. Interpretations with immediacy are what this site is all about - not analysis long after the fact, when every possible angle has been studied. It's a damn message board - lighten up, Francis!

posted by dusted at 06:44 PM on November 22

From Garfield's link: John Green, of West Bloomfield, initially said he had no comment to Local 4. Green was caught on tape throwing his cup of beer onto Indiana Pacers player Ron Artest, Local 4 reported....Green stepped aside and another person took the initial blow. The tape of Friday's fight then shows Green attacking Artest from behind. Beautiful.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:50 PM on November 22

It's this willingness to assume, from often sloppy, superficial and lazy observation, that one knows the underlying facts of a situation with sufficient completeness to justify indulging one's urges towards self-righteousness, that prompted my comment about the "typical American" that offended rcade so very, very much. That it's better to feel justified than to be justified is, for just one example, why at least a hundred thousand people are dead and a good hunk of southwest Asia is going to be a big version of Beirut for the next fifty years or so. A centuries-old tradition of anti-intellectualism underpinned it, talk radio fueled it, an election certified it, and now nothing can fucking stop it. Do you wonder why I might be sore about it?

Hope you wore safety goggles while grinding that axe.

What a joke.

Why haven't you employed those vaunted critical reasoning skills you claim to possess towards the realization that there isn't a 'typical American' and what you've written above has absolutely zero to do with all of us, whom you've never met?

It makes you look like the kind of intellectually clumsy fool you're trying to critique.

Now excuse me, I've gotta go stuff my face with Big Macs and clean my assault rifles.

I just know them UN black helicopters is coming back and I's aiming to be ready for them this time!

posted by crank at 06:56 PM on November 22

I think there's a useful comparison to be had between this brawl and last Wednesday's racist chants at the Spain-England match. We talk about having drunken morons in the stands as an unstoppable proposition, separate from considering the players into the stands bit, but isn't the reaction in Europe against even allowing the over the line fan shouts? And if places like Spain and England can make real progress in stopping it why can't US leagues?

posted by billsaysthis at 07:53 PM on November 22

bill, do you have a link to a story for that, or did I miss it further up the page? Just looking for some background. Maybe what we need is celebration of fan-on-fan violence instead of the cameras avoiding it. Keep them off the field and clean up the stands with a few good brawls. The saddest part of this incident is the under-utilization of the word "donnybrook".

posted by yerfatma at 08:02 PM on November 22

taupe, if you came here looking for anything other than unbridled opinion, you are going to be sadly disappointed.

I'm pretty sure nobody here has David Stern's ear or any influence over the Auburn Hills police department.

Opinion is all we have and none of us get a vote on Ron Artest. Apparently, you feel you are disciplined enough to never pass a judgement unless you are in complete possession of perfect information.

But since you've pretty much decided anyone who doesn't see things your way is responsible for killing people in the Middle East -- including people who you know nothing of other than what they have posted here -- you really ought to look in the mirror when seeking someone lacking the respect of basic intellectual disciplines.

posted by dzot at 08:05 PM on November 22

Do you wonder why I might be sore about it?

If you're going to drop a load like that, taupe, light a match or something on your way out.

Aren't you the same shade of brown that began this thread by declaring that "clearly the fans were chiefly culpable"?

Mere minutes after the game ended, and without the benefit of round-the-clock video replays and media saturation, you exhibited certitude over the underlying facts of a situation with sufficient completeness, showing no respect for the basic intellectual disciplines of acknowledging the limits of one's own knowledge of fact.

If I've learned to speak taupe, doesn't this mean you're also a jingoistic war-loving yokel who caused the next 50 years of war in the Middle East?

posted by rcade at 08:09 PM on November 22

rcade, Isn't this the part where you tell us how you really were cool back in the day ... that the real you isn't the punctilious pusillanimous sissy you come across as now.

posted by Mike McD at 08:17 PM on November 22

Jesus Christ, people, be careful you don't break a nail scratching one another's eyes out.

posted by wfrazerjr at 08:45 PM on November 22

crank, if I'm to accept that you're engaging in anything other than discussion-board axe-grinding yourself, I've got to know what assertion of mine, real or imagined, you wish to deny.

Do you deny that "the typical American", theoretical construct of statistical averages with no necessary literal instantiation though he-she-or-it may be, has the problems in question?

To ask exactly the same question, do you deny that more actual real Americans have them than don't?

I just can't agree with you, then.

Maybe I'm wrong on the numbers -- though the last, most comprehensive counting of said numbers suggests strongly that I'm not -- but the mere fact that you can't necessarily find a real so-called "typical American", any one individual who's a member of all majority subsets simultaneously, doesn't prevent you from ever making any generalisations about the full set at all.

You also can't claim to know how anyone who generalises similarly conceives of the generalisations he or she uses.

Do you deny being the kind of falangist retrograde who can't tell one raghead from another and doesn't care?

That's nice, but calm down -- I never really said that you were.

Saying "there's an error I see being committed by people who do X, and that error also underpins the greater and more monstrous doing of Y" is not the same thing as saying "everybody who does X also does Y".

I said the former, and perhaps I should have been more clear about saying it that way; you seem to think I said the latter.

Do you deny that anyone in this thread (other than, I suppose, me) has indulged in knee-jerk lynch-mobbery of one stripe or another vis-a-vis this whole thing with the guys in the place?

Can't fully agree with you here, either.

It's been much worse in hives of muppetry like ESPN's Sports Nation discussion boards, and probably in just about any sports discussion site other than SportsFilter.

But, regrettably, I've seen it here, and for this reason alone, by no means does what I've said have "absolutely zero to do with" anyone here.

On a less serious note, I'm also commissioner of our fantasy league, and we maybe have to figure out how we deal with things going forward.

trox, who has Artest and seemed to have had the most future up-side in terms of games he could still apply, looks the most screwed. I was concerned about sportsBabel, who just before Friday's incident had agreed to trade Tracy McGrady to dusted and looked as though he'd look to Jackson to fill the resulting void at SG, but sB has since made a great pickup in Fred Jones.

posted by taupe at 08:46 PM on November 22

On a less serious note, I'm also commissioner of our fantasy league, and we maybe have to figure out how we deal with things going forward.

Screw the brawl argument - what does that mean? Hopefully not "I'm going to veto trades."

posted by dusted at 08:55 PM on November 22

I yield to your expertise on the subject of being cool, Mike. How could I not, based on your ready knowledge of strip club etiquette and your ability to smoothly wield terms like punctilious and pusillanimous just to call someone a pussy?

You are the Fonz after the gray-windbreaker season when Chuck was still alive but before he jumped the shark in the male-cameltoe swimsuit. Now go punch a jukebox and drag Richie off to the bathroom for a little private man-to-man time.

posted by rcade at 09:01 PM on November 22

And now dzot and rcade post.

The point about my having said that the fans were "[c]learly...chiefly culpable" has merit, I'll admit; I didn't necessarily know that when I said that.

You've found that mote in my eye, rcade, and congratulations.

One problem: spotting that one instance of my failure to meet a certain standard perfectly, even if I were the one proposing said standard, doesn't address the question of your own standing with respect to that same standard, or that of anybody else in this thread.

I mean, I'll back away from saying that the fans were "clearly chiefly culpable" if you'll back away from "haymakers" and "clearly assault".

Dig?

(And if I can be permitted a digression of my own, rcade, you are doing me one service: with your steadfast efforts to impart a Metafilter-esque tone to this thread, you've reminded we why I long since stopped reading Metafilter.)

And dzot: "anyone who doesn't see things [my] way"?

I stand by the assertion that a thorough and systematic contempt for fact, as both practiced directly by the Administration and encouraged through manipulation of public opinion, fundamentally underpinned the entirely avoidable present nightmare in Iraq.

If you want to say I'm wrong about that, then you've got to offer some pretty creative interpretations of pretty much anything anyone's revealed about the intelligence available at the relevant time, or the Administration's handling of same.

And again, see my previous post about alleged linkages of opinions about this to opinions about what we used to be talking about.

And no, I'm not going to veto trades, or probably do much of anything out of the ordinary unless somebody complains. And my own team won't manage to break out of ninth place, either.

posted by taupe at 09:31 PM on November 22

The Pacers-Pistons game preview from the Detroit News was pretty funny in hindsight.

"It's going to be a knock-down, drag-out fight," guard Lindsey Hunter said.

posted by rcade at 09:38 PM on November 22

Wow taupe! Way to rip someone a new one using phrases like "falangist retrograde" and "hives of muppetry"! (p.s. muppets don't live in hives. them's hymnoptera.)

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:55 PM on November 22

taupe, has it never occurred to you that the reason there have been differences of opinion throughout human history is not because some people (like you) are really smart, and others (like me) are really stupid.

It's because reasonable people can hold different views and both views can be valid given the different assumptions behind them; assumptions that cannot be perfectly validated.

No, I guess it hasn't.

You have no idea how I feel about Iraq, yet you have decided that since my opinion is that Ron Artest is at fault, I must be in league with the war criminal Bush because nobody stupid, immoral or otherwise flawed enough to find fault with Artest could be anything but a war monger too.

This is what your refer to as "intellectual discipline."

You no doubt fancy yourself a paragon of openmindedness but your arrogance blinds you to the fact of the opposite.

posted by dzot at 10:03 PM on November 22

Saying "there's an error I see being committed by people who do X, and that error also underpins the greater and more monstrous doing of Y"

There was scant to no evidence that supported the administration's case for the current Middle East adventure. Artest and Jackson did what they did in front of millions of people. Your comparison of the case for war with Iraq, which called for one to trust George Bush, with the formation of an opinion (as you yourself have done in your FPP) regarding the events of Friday night, which call for us to trust our own eyes, fall flat. It's a patently ridiculous, intellectually dishonest comparison.

Do you deny that anyone in this thread (other than, I suppose, me) has indulged in knee-jerk lynch-mobbery of one stripe or another vis-a-vis this whole thing with the guys in the place?

Where is the lynch mob?

Where are the calls for Artest to be drawn and quartered?

People have given their impressions of the incident, and their opinions of what his punishment should be, little else.

They may not live up to some artificial 'standard' that you've decided to foist us upon us.

Too bad. David Stern issued his suspensions yesterday, before whatever legal proceeding you seem to think will occur has taken place.

Are Stern's suspensions out of order?

Was he privy to some secret cache of information that the rest of us are not?

No he was not.

Do Stern's suspensions meet your standard?

If they do, why? If they don't, is Stern somehow responsible for genocide in Sudan by virtue of the fact that he failed to meet your standard?

It's been much worse in hives of muppetry like ESPN's Sports Nation discussion boards, and probably in just about any sports discussion site other than SportsFilter.

Then why are you talking about it here?

posted by crank at 10:07 PM on November 22

...with your steadfast efforts to impart a Metafilter-esque tone to this thread

Wait a minute. Aren't you the fella that dropped the "typical American" ad hominem attack? The conversation was intense but focused on the merits of the differing opinions at that point. You attacked the person instead of the argument - now you're complaining because others are doing the same?

posted by dusted at 10:12 PM on November 22

And if I can be permitted a digression of my own, rcade, you are doing me one service: with your steadfast efforts to impart a Metafilter-esque tone to this thread, you've reminded we why I long since stopped reading Metafilter.

That's a little odd coming from the guy who brought the Iraq war into this.

I'll back off the haymaker characterization if something suggests it is false beyond the assertions of people here whose vantage point was no better than mine.

Media reports say Artest was throwing punches, the video footage I saw suggests he was throwing punches, and one of the closest eyewitnesses says Artest punched the first fan. He could be lying, now that he's trying to lure a money truck to his house, and the media could be wrong about it. But so far I'm not seeing anything to support the citizens-arrest theory.

Even if you believe he wasn't throwing punches, is it defensible for a player to charge in the stands, palm a fan's face and shove him to the ground?

That act alone instigates a scrum with the guy's friends and encourages the chaos that followed. I don't see how he comes off much better in that interpretation.

Artest lost his mind in a fit of anger and now he's losing millions and the Pacers are losing a season. I'd feel sorry for the guy if he wasn't acting hand-in-hand with those drunken Pistons fans and other dolts who are pushing American sports into ruinous hooliganism.

I'll try to stop bogarting the thread and wrap my comments up. Someone asked earlier if I would fear player-on-fan assaults as a parent more than fan abuse of players, officials, and each other.

Why would I be choosing one or the other? Both are capable of making a live sporting event, one of my favorite things in the world, something too unpleasant or unstable to share with my kids.

That sucks. I hope the camera-loving prosecutor makes an example out of everyone involved.

posted by rcade at 10:16 PM on November 22

And by the way taupe, this comment: Okay, you're in a heated emotional situation in which somebody essentially threw a punch at you not a minute ago, and you're trying, in whatever (perhaps half-assed) way, to stay out of the rest of things. Then something thrown at you hits you with force. In a split second you're supposed to identify the missile and place it in its proper responsible context of potential threats?

and its implied defense of Artest's purely emotional, decidedly non-judicious, response to the beer thrown at him flies in the face of your criticism of the 'typical american' facts-be-damned straw man you've constructed.

If fact, I'd argue it has much in common with the "we need to invade Iraq before more of our buildings get knocked down" crowd....

posted by crank at 10:25 PM on November 22

I'm with Mike McD on the drunk fans.

They can fuck off.

Seriously.

I find it ppalling that rcade can insist that "So, yes, millionaire athletes have to behave better than the average abusive sports fan who is drunk off his ass." because there will always be more.

And women should wear burqas so they don't incite men to rape them.

If some fuckheads are incapable of going to a sporting event without getting drunk, throwing shit, and attacking people, ban them from sports events.

posted by rodgerd at 10:32 PM on November 22

The sportsguy made me laugh: For the rest of the season, before every game, Artest gets wheeled out to midcourt like Hannibal Lecter -- you know, tied to one of those white stretchers and wearing a strait jacket and the metal facemask. Then, they untie him, and he gets to warm up with his team. I think this would get the message across to the fans -- stay away from this guy.

There are a ton of good points in this thread, and several comments have made me rethink my position, but this guy has had a history of losing his temper. His father says as much. You'll never be able to control 15,000 fans. Artest needs to spend his suspension time in therapy. He has the time and the money.

I yield to your expertise on the subject of being cool, Mike. How could I not, based on your ready knowledge of strip club etiquette and your ability to smoothly wield terms like punctilious and pusillanimous just to call someone a pussy?

Ha. Metafilterish maybe, but funny as hell (imho).

posted by justgary at 10:48 PM on November 22

The most interesting thing in the sportsguy column was this about Ben Wallace:

(Intriguing note on Wallace: One of his posse members was the huge guy who attacked Fred Jones from behind. During the initial altercation, you can see the guy lurking behind Artest as Artest lies on the scorer's table, almost like he's ready to jump him. You can also see him consoling Wallace's kids after the fact.)

posted by dusted at 11:20 PM on November 22

If some f---heads are incapable of going to a sporting event without getting drunk, throwing shit, and attacking people, ban them from sports events.

Why not just ban beer from the games?

It would be a whole lot easier...

posted by daddisamm at 01:50 AM on November 23

Why not just ban beer from the games???? It would be a whole lot easier...

Not sure it would make a huge difference as long as people regard Getting Drunk and Acting Rowdy as their God-given right at big events.

Tailgating doesn't just happen at football games; over the years, I've seen plenty of groups of people standing around the neighborhood before Opening Day at Fenway Park, getting good and lit at ten in the morning.

But banning alcohol at games might help some, since it would probably keep some percentage of otherwise normal people from an alcohol-induced loss of impulse control.

The problem drinkers, OTOH, will just do what they have to do to get a load on before they walk through the doors.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:38 AM on November 23

Oh god. "Hives of Muppetry" is so totally the name of my first album. Stamped it.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 07:32 AM on November 23

and FWIW, my appologies rcade.

Last night I spoke in anger; I just couldn't resist egging you on.

I admit it.

But you always get so worked up about anything that's even slightly unorthodox.

Sure, Artest's actions were unusual, but I prefer not to judge the world based simply on whether it's the way things have been in the past.

Sometimes the *status quo* is a terrific mess.

posted by Mike McD at 08:00 AM on November 23

this thread has gotta be up for an award.

wow.

kudos to all.

posted by garfield at 08:33 AM on November 23

The problem drinkers, OTOH, will just do what they have to do to get a load on before they walk through the doors.

I agree, have done some tailgating myself..

However, Not having beer sales in the statiums, would give security the chance to pick out some of the ones coming in loaded. It would be worth a try!

posted by daddisamm at 08:43 AM on November 23

In the meantime, feel free to say "ARTEST SMASH!" another half dozen times, at the risk of further deflecting toward one (hardly blameless) guy and away from any possible broader systemic ill arising from the marriage of base human impulses and greed.

Thanks! ARTEST SMASH! ARTEST SMASH! ARTEST SMASH! ARTEST SMASH! ARTEST SMASH! ARTEST SMASH!

Poor poor misunderstood Artest, victim of society's marriage of base human impulses and greed!

posted by sic at 10:24 AM on November 23

Did this thread die, then, with the slap party in the new one?

Well, let's clean things up, then.

sic, you're a chimpanzee.

rcade, there's a lot more to detest about Metafilter than its preoccupation with current affairs.

The neverending soap opera of running piss fights between this poster and that was the big reason for me when I wrote it off -- whatever Crossfire issue-of-the-day being merely the backdrop for same -- and with it all the snide rhetorical smartassery and bruised-ego defensiveness that made it nothing better than a blue Usenet.

And, God damn, if your every comment from here on down (and on and on) didn't remind me of exactly that.

Thank you all the same for eventually returning focus to emerging models of what actually happened, but...let's not talk any time soon.

crank, your posts are worthy of respect, and you've got some good points.

I should have been clearer in the reply that started this whole ugly mess that, when I started seeing idiots everywhere, it was really those other discussions, those hives I was talking about, moreso than this thread (although we did have some ringers here).

And in those other discussions, there were plenty of people who were perfectly happy willfully to play one-player Telephone with the very videotaped evidence we've all been talking about.

Apart from that, I'm unsure how my asking others not to be so eager to lay down the smack on Artest for "just a cup of beer" is necessarily inconsistent with my own acknowledged eagerness to punish sins of intellect -- the situations aren't quite analogous.

And I wish I could concede to you your characterisation of my characterisation of the average schmuck any of us have to deal with in our daily lives as a "strawman", but...caramba, it's no strawman, at least among those fool enough to open their mouths within earshot of me or nearly anyone I know who's had reason to comment about same.

Props to you for being a more forgiving sort than I, but I just don't see it the same way. I'll continue in a quieter vein in the other thread(s) on this topic.

posted by taupe at 07:14 PM on November 23

The difference between us, taupe, is that I'm not pretending to be above the argument I'm having.

You can't lament the tone of this discussion after describing people who disagree with you as nebbishes and typical know-nothing Americans. Pick a team and stick to it.

From my skewed perspective, nothing I've written should have inspired directly personal attacks like Mike calling me a "punctilious pusallinimous sissy.".

But it was kinda funny, not entirely off the mark, and there isn't a sports discussion site on the Web that plays by Marquis of Queensbury rules.

So no harm, no foul.

posted by rcade at 07:59 AM on November 24

Taupe, only when I post on MonkeyFilter, you sanctimonious twit.

No really, you take yourself far more seriously than anyone person should take themself, and on a sports blog of all places. So yeah, fuck you for not having a sense of humour. You and Artest deserve each other.

posted by sic at 09:45 AM on November 24

taupe- that's cool.

I guess this thread is officially dead now.

posted by crank at 12:34 PM on November 24

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