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Nov 22nd 2004

brawls abound, but not a hockey game in sight

this weekend, america saw two of the most appalling brawls, donnybrooks, melees, brouhahas–whatever you call them–in recent sports history. and there wasn’t a hockey game in sight. why am i pointing this out? because of previous arguments on this blog. [1] [2] [3] [4]

that said, i think ron artest’s punishment is too severe. david stern announced sunday that artest would be suspended for the remainder of the season.

message to NBA fans: the players are entirely to blame when you, in a drunken enraged stupor, throw dangerous projectiles at them that could end their lucrative careers. please don’t worry about your safety at our events. we will be punishing the vile felons to the tune of $5 million apiece. they have no right to worry that perhaps their eyes will be poked out and they will lose the opportunity to make their living. no matter that they have put in countless hours to excel at a sport and that can be taken away in just a split second by your mindless, riot-think choice of launching dangerous articles in the direction of their sensitive external organs from the upper deck. please continue to patronize our great sport, and keep drinking beer!

give me a break, commissioner. somebody threw a full bottle of beer and it hit artest in the face. his foul on wallace wasn’t that bad in the first place, and artest behaved quite well up until he was nailed with the beverage. he even reclined himself on the scorer’s table amidst the commotion to show how uninterested he was. michael wilbon of ESPN’s PTI says artest’s penalty was too light, considering he escalated the brawl to a near-riot. but artest didn’t escalate the issue. the fan is to blame.

THE FAN.

how is everybody missing this?

it doesn’t matter that artest earns a million bucks more a year than that fan.

it doesn’t matter that artest was at work and the fan was at play.

it doesn’t matter that artest has committed hard fouls and drop-kicked basketballs into the stands before.

he was attacked. multiple times. i don’t doubt the hoodlums in the palace at auburn hills would have dismembered his body if they had the chance. when ron artest did leave the court, it was in the face of more obscene object-hurling, epithet screaming, prosecutable behavior by the drunken, ghetto-trash detroit fans.

charles barkley said it best on PTI monday, when he defended artest’s split-second decision:

if you’re walking down the street and you throw a drink in somebody’s face, you expect to get hit. but it’s easy [for david stern] to watch the tape over and over on monday and come to a decision that makes [artest] the scapegoat.

too bad. david stern is wrong to dole out such a fans-please-don’t-be-scared-of-our-superstar-felons ruling. he came down hardest on perhaps the most innocent guy involved in friday night’s “malice at the palace”.

watch the video of the pacers-pistons-fans brawl.

then, of course, there was the clemson-south carolina fight on saturday. and the pittsburgh-cleveland fight a week ago.

i will, once again, return to the on-going argument between doug and me. doug has repeatedly claimed that the sport of ice hockey is “bad” and “out of control” and full of “barbarians”, but i need to point out that most hockey fights are similar to boxing matches. they’re orderly, fair, and entertaining. in hockey, one fights like a man. however, as we’ve recently seen in other sports, one apparently fights like he’s at an arab leader’s funeral.

those are my two points today: 1) ron artest is the NBA’s latest undeserving scapegoat, and 2) with so many fights and not a hockey game in sight, it’s time to stop calling hockey THE “out of control” sport.

9 Responses to “brawls abound, but not a hockey game in sight”

  1. doug

    brawls abound, but not a hockey game in sight

    Hard to have hockey fights when the NHL is locked out. The lock out, of course, would have nothing to do with the illogical greed of hockey players (“Earth to all stick wielding men of the ice: A LOT LESS PEOPLE WATCH YOUR SPORT NOW. SETTLE FOR LESS MONEY.”)

    Anyways, do be accurate Travis, I can’t find an instance on the blog that I’ve ever referred to hockey players as “barbarians” or used the word “bad” (ie. “hockey is bad”). Correct me if I’m wrong.

    In fact, I have NEVER argued that hockey was somehow inferior to basketball. Or that basketball, or any other sport, was superior to hockey. I have simply tried to tone your hockey zealotry down a notch.

    What I did argue in one of the posts you referenced was that a sucker punch which left the victim with “three fractured vertebrae, facial cuts, post-concussion symptoms and amnesia” was a sympton of an out-of-control sport. I certainly think that the “malice in The Palace” says the same of basketball (and its drunken fans in Detroit).

    When I claimed that fractured vertebrae and chronic fighting were signs of a game out-of-control, you disagreed. You then went on to justify your righteous outrage at my terminology, claiming that the truly “out of control” are fanatical muslims who agree with terrorists…

    Anywho, as I’ve said 100 Billion Times: one sport is not “better” than another. Yet you seem hell-bent on somehow proving otherwise. I wish you the best of luck.

  2. doug, how do you expect me to make real progress in my life when you are always cutting me down?

    and please–with the language! no more H-E-double hockey sticks!

    but seriously, all i’ve been asking all these long months is for an admission that hockey is equal. that icemen and courtmen, puckmen and ballmen, the toothless and the gold-toothed–if you will–will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of your mind, douglas, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that future hockey players will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the sport they play, but by the content of their character. I have a dream today. [link]

  3. doug

    “but seriously, all i’ve been asking all these long months is for an admission that hockey is equal.”

    Surely you jest. Perhaps it is besides the point to point you to places where I have tried to convince you of this very point.

    me:
    Anyways, as I’ve told you before, Travis, this is a futile argument. Why? Because it is NOT AN ARGUMENT! One sport isn’t better than another.
    [source, see my first comment, second to last paragraph]

    Now as for you ever advocating “sports equality”, let’s take a look-see at the titles of a couple of the articles you referenced in your most recent rant:

    NHL: honor and grit; NBA: …uh….love it live!

    hockey is better

    Maybe Martin Luther King just misunderstood the Klan when they said “white is better”…they too were advocating equality!

  4. al

    “Can’t we all just get along?” Doug, I have to agree with Trav on this one. Though violent, hockey is not the only sport that is violent enough to severely hurt or maime its competitors.

    Here is a link to a soccer player who broke his leg. The picture is pretty graphic, but it is explained that if the surgery to insert metal rods does not go well it could be career ending. Big if, but still possible.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/l/liverpool/3971639.stm

    This happens quite often in so many sports. Now one might argue this soccer injury isn’t caused by the same type of violence as hockey, but if you have played or even seen soccer then you know how it can be just as vindictive as any sport, including hockey.

    All sports have their methods of retaliation against other players for “unfair” actions. If one pitcher beans one key player, the pitcher from the team may retaliate. “You see, here’s how it works in baseball: Your pitcher hits my guy, my pitcher hits your guy. Your pitcher hits my superstar, my pitcher hits your superstar. All even, all fair.”

    http://www.scroom.com/SCROOMtimes/issue5.4/cheapseats.shtml
    Have you ever been hit by a 95 mile/hr fast ball? It might hurt. Maybe even leave a mark.

    Of course we know that football is the same as the other sports, as shown by last weekend’s games in college and the NFL. All sports have their methods of retaliation. Hockey is no exception. It is just more visible. Well, completely visible. Most other sports are not as visible. In soccer, you slide tackle with cleats high, or come down on the leg from behind at an angle, as what happened to Djibril Cisse mentioned above. (I don’t claim to know it was malicious, but it is not uncommon to retaliate in such fashion.)

    My point is:
    all sports have retaliative methods, just like hockey, even though we may not see them as clearly
    And, if hockey is an out-of-control sport, than all others are too.

    (I base this off the premise that the “out-of-control” violence you refer to stems mostly from retaliatory fights and incidents)

    P.S. Have a great Thanksgiving!!!

  5. doug:

    because of your blatant and extreme anti-hockey bias, i have had to argue that position–the position that hockey is better–for you to even consider the POSSIBILITY that hockey is equal to other sports.

    and since you brought it up again, let’s return to my “out of control” analogy:

    as i said, we call the religion of islam “out of control” because a hypermajority, perhaps 75% or more, agree with its supposedly extremist policies. therefore, when 19 idiots ram airplanes into american buildings, dozens more behead innocent aid workers in iraq, hundreds more voluntarily blow themselves up in pizza places, on buses, and at israeli military checkpoints, and the vast majority of those who practice the religion worldwide remain silent (in approval), we are okay with calling the religion as a whole “out of control”. no one even ventures the thought, “those 19 hijackers on september 11th were out of control”, because we recognize that a larger group is out of control, not just the 19 boxcutting zealots.

    when the NHL’s todd bertuzzi approached another player from behind and sucker punched him, doing serious damage to the other player’s spine, the whole league, including bertuzzi’s teammates, coaches, and fans, declared he was “out of control”. not a single strand of DNA belonging to any person who’d ever even heard the letters N-H-L before even hinted at the possibility that what he did was okay. he was swiftly punished and when historians mention todd bertuzzi’s name, it will always be with the asterisk: *out of control.

    this is a very simple explanation of how one person can be called out of control, and how one GROUP can be called out of control. you dismissed it as a straw man, but you didn’t really listen to me. i just clearly compared two groups (NHL and islam) and two smaller groups (todd bertuzzi, 19 sept 11 hijackers).

    i have shown how, in the NHL’s case, the individual was out of control, and how, in islam’s case, the religion is out of control.

    happy thanksgiving.

  6. Adam

    Travis, you’re hilarious man.

    I agree with you.

    Ron Artest was definetely scapegoated. I would wager that almost every other player in the NBA would have reacted the same way, placed in Artest’s situation.

    I can’t imagine Stern giving perhaps, Tim Duncan a 70-whatever game suspension for anything. Could you?

    I still think Stern’s reaction was unjust, but I understand that he has an obligation to NBA sponsors and profitors alike. From my vantage point, what Stern did was fault Artest for the inadeqate security at The Palace as well as the poor behaviour of fans.

    Artest did what any normal human being would have done in that situation. The only thing he could really be faulted for was the fact that he went after the wrong fan. That’s all.

    Jaleel White has a view on this matter, I very much agree with:

    http://www.nba.com/blog/blog22.html

    As for the fans who went on the court, it’s not even worth commenting on that one. It was very foolish, not to mention dangerous of them.

    Jermaine O’Neal got too much of a punishment himself.

    Keep the blogs coming

  7. doug

    because of your blatant and extreme anti-hockey bias

    Of course, which is why I spent money to watch you play hockey. Please.

    Travis, just because someone prefers basketball to hockey doesn’t mean they have “blatant and extreme anti-hockey bias.” Just because someone cracks jokes about hockey players with no teeth doesn’t mean they have “blatant and extreme anti-hockey bias.” And when I disagree with you when you whine about how “hockey is better,” that certainly doesn’t prove that I have “blatant and extreme anti-hockey bias.”

    As I said OVER A YEAR AGO on September 18, 2003:

    Travis, this is a futile argument. Why? Because it is NOT AN ARGUMENT! One sport isn’t better than another.

    Have I ever believed hockey, or curling for that matter, to be inferior to basketball? Of course. All children believe that what they do is somehow better than what others do. I’m not sure exactly when I stopped thinking that way, but it was at least over a year ago, as evidenced by my comment to your “hockey is better” post.

    I have come to realize that just because Doug likes something a lot, doesn’t mean that it is inherently better than what Person X likes a lot.

    When you have this epiphany, blog it. Until then, please drop the “hockey is god!” nonsense.

  8. adam, thanks for pointing me to jaleel white’s stuff. my favorite selection:

    Can you imagine a fan throwing a beer onto Charles Barkley during his playing days? I think the word amputee sums up that notion in a nutshell.

    doug, congratulations on your recent turn to relativism and subjectivism. good luck with your new truth.

    i’m reading thomas nagel’s the last word [click] right now, but i don’t have it with me at my thanksgiving hideaway. i’ll quote you some of it for you in response, as soon as i get back.

  9. […] for our previous coverage of very public meltdowns and melees, see: *howard dean (the now-famous “then we’ll go to washington to take back the white house — yeeeaargh!”) *ron artest and the indiana pacers (the malice at the palace; i still think ron artest was justified going into the stands, btw) Posted by travis in travis, politics, morality, video, technology | […]