I’ve been thinking about violence in sports and in our culture in general since Saturday nights basketbrawl between the Knicks and Nuggets. Carmelo Anthony will sit for 15 games (losing $640,000 in salary) along with six other players. Each team was hit with a $500,000 fine as well.
Those who aren’t fans of the NBA or are fringe fans are already crying “they’re just a bunch of thugs. Money can’t change that.” I’m not personally a huge basketball fan, but I totally disagree with those who are calling this a travesty. Heck, I wasn’t even that offended by what happened in 2004 between Detroit and the Pacers. Why? We’ve seen it before. That doesn’t make it right, but it also means it doesn’t signal the decline of our civilization.
I am a hockey fan. We see it everynight. Yes, it’s part of the game. You can argue that it doesn’t serve a real purpose anymore and that’s partially true, but it’s part of the games heritage on the professional level. Deal with it. There are plenty of times in hockey history when players have gone into the stands, like the time in 1979 in the very same building where Carmelo threw his “pimpslap.” The Boston Bruins had just defeated the Rangers in Madison Square Garden and tensions were high. Bruin Stan Jonathan was hit by an object from the stands. Wrong guy to hit. Another idiot fan decided to challenge Terry O’Reilly; again, bad choice. Several Bruins went into the stands. Mike Milbury eventually beat a Ranger fan with his own shoe. Hilarious! In the end O’Reilly received an 8 game suspension and Milbury was suspended for 2 games. Anyone remember how many games Ron Artest got for his part in the riot of 2004? 73 games! How many games did Tennessee Titan Albert Haynesworth get for stomping on the head of fallen Dallas Cowboy Andre Gurode? He got the leagues longest ever suspension; 5 games!
So, how is this different? Is it because NBA players are predominately black (yes, I know Albert Haynesworth is also black)? I hate to go there, but I’m at a loss for why NBA suspensions are always so excessive vs. NHL, MLB, and even NFL suspensions. Is it a shorter leash?
Let’s keep things civilized folks. Anyone gettings the Liddell vs. Ortiz fight this month?
ps. For the record Haynesworth suspension was for 31% of the season while Melo’s, if it stands, will be for 18%. Artest = repeat offender (just like Marty McSorely).