Don’t worry…It was my culture

4 08 2008

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3512419

If you go back to the brawl, that’s a culture issue right there. Somebody was disrespecting me, so he’s got to understand where I’m coming from. People that know me know that Ron Artest never changed.

–Ron Artest

Really? That brawl in 2004 was about culture? Not about the fact that you have a horrible temper and set off one of the darkest, saddest events in NBA history? That’s a pretty interesting stance on the issue

For those of you that might have missed out (somehow), here is a quick link here. This brawl eventually led to assault charges for a number of players, the video being played on repeat for millions of people around the world to see and finally a number of philosophical changes on the part of the NBA in an attempt to mitigate the effects of the evening. While there was much discussion about the role of the fans in this, given that the fan did throw a beer at Ron Artest.  While no one will condone fans acting like that, it is not the first time and definitely not the last that objects have been thrown onto the playing surface.  There are many old hockey fighting collections where fans will be taunting a player in the penalty box and he will jump up on to the glass and take a swing, but that was always the end of it.  No melee would ensue and ultimately play would continue on as normal.  Why actions like that are tolerated in hockey but not in basketball is subject to a very different debate.  Whatever those reasons may be, we all saw just how different things went in Detroit.

The reason I bring this up is because Ron Artest was just traded to Houston and Yao Ming is obviously a little concerned about the dynamic of his team with this latest roster addition.  Yao expressed concern, albeit in the wrong format by discussing it in the press, but it could have been defused rather quickly.  But Artest turned it into a big deal, by claiming the events of the Brawl in the Palace were the result of his culture and not showing any remorse for the largest black eye the sport has ever seen.  Are you kidding me?

The lack of compunction is something I will never understand.  That night was an absolute disaster for the game of basketball and it set the NBA back a very long way.  To the point that they are so image conscious that they have mandated dress code, not just on the court, but on the bench and after games for press conferences.  Most decisions made on an executive level now have to take into consideration the effect on their image.  And yet, Ron Artest is unwilling to show any remorse for that night.

Don’t worry though, Artest promptly explained that Yao would understand him soon enough and they would be great teammates.  If I were Yao Ming, I would be very concerned.

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