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Ron Artest Suspended for Season after Brawl

Indy’s Artest suspended for season after brawl (ESPN)
NBA Suspends Artest for Rest of Season (AP)

Ron Artest was suspended for the rest of the season Sunday, and two of his Indiana Pacers teammates must miss a total of 55 games for fighting with fans during a melee that broke out at the end of a game against the Detroit Pistons. Overall, the NBA issued some of the harshest penalties in its history by banning nine players for more than 140 games. Artest’s suspension is the strongest ever levied for a fight during a game.”The line is drawn, and my guess is that won’t happen again — certainly not by anybody who wants to be associated with our league,” commissioner David Stern said. Indiana’s Stephen Jackson was suspended for 30 games and Jermaine O’Neal for 25. Detroit’s Ben Wallace — whose shove of Artest after a foul led to the five-minute fracas — drew a six-game ban, while Pacers guard Anthony Johnson got five games. “I’m sick about that for Indiana. I’m devastated for them,” Pistons coach Larry Brown said. “And we lost our heart and soul.” Four players — Indiana’s Reggie Miller, and Detroit’s Chauncey Billups, Elden Campbell and Derrick Coleman — were suspended one game apiece for leaving the bench during the initial fracas. All of the suspensions are without pay. Artest will lose approximately $5 million in salary, while O’Neal’s suspension will cost him nearly 25 percent of his $14.8 million salary for the current season.

Players union director Billy Hunter, calling the penalties excessive, said an appeal would be filed Monday. The union, sources told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, can expedite an arbitration hearing three times during any given season and will request a hearing on behalf of the three Pacers as soon as possible.

I can’t imagine these sanctions will stand. While players can’t be allowed to attack fans who are harrasing them, they can’t be expected to withstand physical assaults without responding. Certainly, a multi-million dollar fine under such circumstances is beyond the power that should be allocated to a league commissioner, let alone without the benefit of due process.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Boyd says:

    While your judgment that the suspensions can’t stand as they are, I think it’s a damned shame. Too many NBA players live in a reality of their own, enabled by fans and teams.

    These idiots should also be charged with assault. That’s what happens in the reality we normal humans live in.

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  2. Boyd says:

    Grr…I really need to pay more attention to what I write.

    “While your judgment that the suspensions can’t stand as they are may well be correct…”

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  3. I totally disagree. You state that “they can’t be expected to withstand physical assaults without responding.” I think that is exactly what they should be expected to do. Granted they should have had better security to insure that the fans that threw things were immediately arrested and removed from the arena, but players absolutely must not wade into the stands and begin physically assaulting fans no matter how belligerant.

    These suspensions and fines signify that the reputation of the entire league is at stake. There is plenty of blame to go around but that display of assault was riddiculous. It is one thing to throw a punch in anger it is another thing to continue to assault people when fellow players and fans are trying to restrain you or to come flying out of no where and cold cock a fan.

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  4. mike says:

    These players disgust me – but then again what do you expect from the NBA – 40% of the players in the NBA have serious criminal conviction (quote off of Fox News – not sure how they define serious).

    Of course all of this reminds me why I don’t watch NBA games.

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  5. anon says:

    “they can’t be expected to withstand physical assaults without responding”

    What you have in your Weaties this morning?

    You’re supporting vigil anteism? Let’s just attack people who are harrassing us?

    And due process is now required of businesses? I thought that was just a government thing.

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  6. LJD says:

    You can take the hood off the street, but you can’t take the street out of the hood.

    Most of these guys make millions straight out of high school, with no college education. Perhaps they ought to pass this test: playing basketball while passing college courses, to see if they deserve the big bucks and fame.

    While the fans should be held accountable for their actions, look at what started the fight. Artest fouling a Pistons player, getting pushed, and carrying-on by laying on the scoring table.

    A fan threw a drink. So what. That’s where the police escort him from the stadium. End of story. Going nuts didn’t resolve anything. (Unless maybe it was a publicity stunt for the success of his record label, yo, yo, yo).

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