Ron Artest will be the first one to tell you that nothing was his fault. Ben Wallace overreacted, he’ll say. Big Ben didn’t like that he was down by 15 with 45 seconds left and took it the wrong way.
The fans, then, right? They shouldn’t be punching the 6’8″ black man trying to attack a fan. They shouldn’t throw food or drinks in disgust of the visiting team’s tirade into the stands. Or maybe that one white guy shouldn’t be throwing a beer onto Artest as he acts like a smartass by sprawling out on the scorer’s table during a scuffle he was basically responsible for starting.
After watching what is probably the biggest brawl in NBA history, I think to myself – who caused it? Having watched the whole thing, I think it’s very simple.
When you’re up by 15, and a guy gets an open dunk, there is no reason to intentionally foul him from behind. Ben Wallace knows this. Ron Artest knows this. The fans knew this. That was bullshit, and everyone knows it. The ensuing fight was quelled, everyone was calm, all is well, right?
Wrong. I do not know what prompted Artest to lay down on the scorer’s table. In a way it’s him flicking off the fans, Detroit, the officials, etc. He basically started it. It’s like the kid hiding in the bushes as he laughs and watches the house he lit on fire burn down. Hell yeah he deserves to get his ass whooped.
What is tragic here is the embodiment of an eye-for-an-eye on national TV. Beer thrown + Fan = Right to assault someone. Is that fair? In the heat of the moment that is how they all justified themselves. It is just wrong.
And I have to listen to assholes like Tim Legler saying it was the fan’s fault. Yea – maybe the fans were out of line – but you have to remember Artest, man. This guy left his team to go make a rap album, he led the league in flagrant fouls last year and will probably lead it this year. The guy is a dirty player and on top of that he doesn’t care about his own team.
Ben Wallace? He has big hair. And that’s not even a bad thing. The guy is a nice guy, real humble, youngest kid in his household of 8, raised by his mama and had no father. Does he get upset when someone like Ron Artest comes into his house and fouls him on purpose with a 15 point lead and 45 seconds left? I sure as hell would.
In the end, the league will survive, life will go on, people will forget. I hope people don’t get all terror-crazed at NBA arenas because of an isolated incedent. Soon we’ll see barbed wire between players and fans.
Artest will probably get a slap on the wrist, but he should really be banned from the league.