by Ryan Isley
It seems that the only person in the NBA crazier than Ron Artest is Commissioner David Stern.
The NBA had a chance to send a message to Ron Artest and yet they handed him a suspension that was laughable. Seven games?!?!?! That was the best that Stern and the boys could do when it came to suspending Artest after his vicious elbow to the head of Oklahoma City’s James Harden?
And yes, I am going to call him Ron Artest. You act like Ron Artest, you get called Ron Artest.
Forget the apology –if that’s what you want to call it – from Artest on Twitter later acting like it wasn’t on purpose and then saying that he never even saw Harden. To even try and get people to believe that is an insult to our intelligence.
It is hard to believe Artest was apologetic or even cared about what he did if you have watched the play.
For those who haven’t seen it, Artest is celebrating a dunk by pounding his chest and nailed Harden directly to the side of the head with his elbow and then instead of checking to make sure Harden was ok, Artest continued with his ridiculous celebration. When Artest was confronted by some of the Oklahoma City players, he got into a full fighting stance like he was trying out for a UFC pay-per-view event.
It wasn’t exactly the behavior you would expect from someone who was remorseful. But it was the behavior you would expect from Artest.
Many have tried to compare what Artest did to when Kevin Love stomped on the head of Luis Scola, an action that resulted in Love being suspended for two games. Or they have mentioned that other players who have been suspended for throwing an elbow have received no more than a two-game suspension as well.
The difference here is that we are talking about Ron Artest. The same Ron Artest who has now been suspended by the NBA 13 times. You know – that same Ron Artest who charged into the crowd in Detroit. And also the same Ron Artest who thanked “everybody in my hood” and “my psychiatrist” after winning the 2010 NBA championship with the Lakers.
So comparing any of those other incidents to the Artest incident really is comparing apples to oranges.
When it first happened, I thought the league should hand down at least a 10-game suspension to Artest. After watching it a couple more times and thinking about it, I was more inclined to ask for at least a 20-game suspension.
In all reality, what the NBA should have done is suspend Artest for a minimum of 30 games and require that he seek psychiatric help. They should have then waited until after the 30 games to confer with the psychiatrist to see if they felt that Artest was stable enough mentally to return to the league. If not, then Artest is suspended indefinitely until he is mentally prepared to return.
Why 30 games? The Lakers can play a maximum of 28 games in the playoffs and the Lakers have one game left in the regular season. A minimum 30-game suspension guarantees that Artest will not play again this season.
Think that is too harsh?
Well, what would you think if that elbow was just inches higher and hit Harden in the temple? Would a 30-game suspension be too long while Harden was being memorialized after dying at the age of 22?
Still think it is harsh? Consider what Artest’s punishment would have been if this was the NHL.
Just last week, the NHL suspended Carl Hagelin of the New York Rangers for three games for an elbow to the head. Hagelin was a first-time offender. A few days later, the league suspended Raffi Torres of the Phoenix Coyotes for 25 games for launching himself into Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks and hitting Hossa in the head. It was the fifth time Torres has been suspended.
Yet Artest with all of his history gets just a seven-game suspension in the NBA.
And the NHL is SUPPOSED to be a physical league.
What do you think – Was the suspension fair or should the NBA have done more? Leave a comment or email Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org