Folks, just to be clear, I am all in favor of Artest’s punishment. I don’t follow the NBA really at all. But it seems to me very close to a prison league with better salaries in terms of the role models and style of play it promotes. Besides, the NBA is a private league and I am all in favor of private institutions putting the interests of the institution (and, in this case, the country) above the interests of its individual members. But I do stand by the general principle that if you throw a beer in a dude’s face you shouldn’t cry like a little girl if you get decked for it (that was the point I liked about the initial email). In this actual instance the extenuating circumstances don’t back Artest up. Again, I don’t follow this stuff closely, but these two emails are fairly representative and persuasive in my book:
maybe what Ron Artest did should constitute a hate crime? When Ben Wallace shoved Artest, his reaction was of complete calm. Artest knew that Wallace was going to be suspended and since Indiana and Detroit are two top teams, Ron made a conscious decision to NOT fight back. He knew he’d be suspended if he fought back against Wallace. So, in the heat of the moment, we know that Artest can think things through…
But when a white fan throws a plastic cup of beer on him, all hell breaks loose. Surely the Wallace shove was more physical and potentially damaging than a plastic cup of beer.
Plus, we don’t live in a self regulating society…if we did, the fans who saw Ron Artest attack the wrong guy would, in your poster’s world, have the right to knock the snot out of Artest for his misdeed.
Throw a cup of beer in someone’s face and get beat up, sure. But isn’t there an also an unwritten rule that when you get jacked up, chased down the court, and have a towel thrown on you, you stand your ground and fight? Because that’s what Ben Wallace did to Artest. And in response, Artest, tough guy that he is, laid down on the scorer’s table. But when some scrawny little guy in the stands chucks a soda on him, all of a sudden he’s gotta defend his manhood?
I agree with the taking a beating point. But the person who should have taken his beating like a man, or as a standup guy or whatever, was Artest. If it’s a long standing social tradition to get beat up for beer throwing, then it’s also a long standing tradition to heap opprobrium on the guy who runs away from the big guy to beat up the little guy.