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Metta World Disaster

I may be in the minority on this one, but count me in as one of those who subscribes to Metta World Peace’s logic. I too “unintentionally” cheated on my ex-girlfriend 6 times back in 2003, and should not be punished for my actions.

Really??? So much for the road to redemption, huh?

The funny thing is that I remember Ron-Ron when he was first drafted by the Chicago Bulls at #16, back in 1999.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that he was going to be a defensive stud, soon making multiple NBA All-Defensive teams while giving fits to some of the leagues premier players, and ultimately peaking in 2004 when he became only the 6th non-big in NBA History to earn Defensive Player of The Year honors.

In fact, even after the Palace incident, Artest continued to positively impact every team that he joined.

In 2006, after joining the Sacramento Kings during a mid-season trade from Indiana,  Artest not only changed the defensive culture of a soft team, but inserted himself as the Alpha Dog for an improbable season ending run that included the Kings winning 9 of their last 11 games, securing the 8th seed in the Western Conference, and then valiantly stretching the #1 Seed and Defending Champion San Antonio Spurs to 6 hard-fought games.

After being traded to the Houston Rockets in 2008, Artest continued his positive impact by further instilling a measure a toughness to a team that already had Carl Landry and Chuck Hayes, and then stepping in as the Alpha Dog during the 2009 Playoffs after Yao Ming’s season ending injury resulting in the underdog Rockets stretching the eventual-Champion Lakers to 7 games.

Then, most recently in 2010, Artest enjoyed success as an NBA Champion, locking down Paul Pierce, and hitting a clutch 3-point shot in Game 7 of the NBA Finals to help the Lakers win their second straight championship. Artest then took yet another gigantic step towards positively rehabilitating his image by offering a vulnerable, yet candid, post-game interview in which he first publicly thanked his shrink, and then later raffled off his championship ring in an effort to raise funds for mental illness, eventually even earning the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award.

I really thought he had turned the corner. I really did.  Then came the “Elbow”, and suddenly we were reminded that Metta World Peace was just yet another person whose gimmicky name represented the exact opposite of their character …. Sort of like the 6’6 club bouncer named “Tiny”, or my manic-depressant ex-girlfriend named “Hope”.

No, instead Metta must now be grouped into the same category as another violent offender, Kermit Washington, whose sucker punch on Rudy Tomjanovich back in 1977 still stands as the most violent outcome to a NBA Brawl since the League’s inception over 60 years ago. Kermit’s punch not only shattered Tomjanovich’s jaw and face, but also inflicted life threatening injuries and left Rudy sidelined for 5 months, thereby transforming the careers of both men.

Although Harden did not experience the same life-threatening consequences as Rudy, what should not be overlooked is that Harden very easily could have, or perhaps even worse. Why? An elbow to the temple is not just an attack, it is a lethal blow since the temple is one of the most vulnerable parts of the human body. Metta’s strike could have very easily resulted in either paralysis or even instant death had it landed in the right spot. As a result, shouldn’t World Peace incur the same 26 game suspension that Kermit Washington received?

Just because a heinous act results in a different set of consequences does not forgive the heinous act – nor should it be punished with any less severity. Metta’s elbow to the temple was absolutely, positively vicious, and should be punished to the full letter of the NBA law, regardless of the short-term/long-term consequences of Harden’s concussion.

Moreover, unlike Metta’s Elbow strike, Kermit’s actions could still be contrued as one teammate standing up for another in the heat of battle. There are numerous instances in which people react incorrectly when defending another. However, Artest’s actions made no sense at all. In fact, it’s no different than the big angry drunk at the bar whose had one too many and begins pounding away at anyone within his vicinity.

I love the physical play of the NBA. I grew up during the 80s/90s when hard fouls resulted in the modern day equivalent of a slap of the hand, and I believe that there is a room for a certain level of thuggery.  However, there is no room for life-threatening cheap shots and if the league wants to try and make a statement, make the right statement in which the Metta World Peace Suspension is consistent with his actions, not just the outcome. Metta World Peace deserves a punishment equal to that of Kermit Washington and should be suspended for at least 26 games.

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Discussion

15 Responses to “Metta World Disaster”

  1. Agreed. In fact, in the comparison, you could make more of a case for Kermit Washington in that there was an actual fight going on the court and Rudy T ran up to him. OTOH, Metta’s act was clearly gratuitous and his explanation that it was part of his celebration of a dunk is ridiculous.

    Posted by ks | April 23, 2012, 10:53 am
  2. I was disgusted. Dude has been suspended 13 times in his career. At what point do you realize that he needs to be banned from the NBA? When a player suffers a career ending injury? Death?

    Make a statement Mr. Stern. This type of play will not be tolerated. Kick him out of the league

    Posted by Mike | April 23, 2012, 11:44 am
  3. How can you say that his suspension should only be based on the action or the injury to harden? It has to include intent, character and that includes both his previous suspensions as well as his recent activity both on and off the court.
    I agree that it was uncalled for and outside of the norm for a celebration. But take a look at players who have thrown punches at players with the intent to hurt them. Just cause they can’t land a punch doesn’t mitigate the character flaw of the player. A thrown punch gets you 5-10 games and an elbow gets 5. If Bynum clotheslining jj barea gets 4 this can’t get him more than 5. Bynums play was dirty, uncalled for, and gave the league a bad look. This play wasn’t that bad.

    Posted by Anti bill Simmons | April 23, 2012, 1:53 pm
  4. Haha why not compare this to something like, I don’t know, an elbow instead of a closed fist in the face? Did you believe Karl Malone deserved 26 games when he elbowed David Robinson in the face and caused to him become unconscious for 2 minutes? Or when he elbowed Zeke causing 40 stitches in the face? Or when he was in college and actually ended David Ramers CAREER? these were all elbows with Karl looking the man in his face and hitting him right there with the elbow. Or two years ago in the playoffs where KG elbows quentin right in the face after he was standing near pierce? None of those incidents got more than one day of suspensions.

    I’m not saying none of those justify what Ron did, Whether he meant to or not he connected with Harden. I just don’t see why you’re comparing it with the worst incident and trying to draw parallels when there are more similar plays than that, that actually did more damage, that actually looked more intentional than Ron’s elbow and that actually caused more damage than Ron’s elbow.

    Posted by stillshining | April 23, 2012, 2:16 pm
  5. The issue here is not fairness to Metta, but the health of the other players. Is it fair to other athletes to force them to be on the court with someone who has clearly shown repeatedly that he has very little impulse control? Metta’s transgression, and his list of transgressions, is much more serious than Washington’s, for two reasons.

    One, Metta is a repeat offender who has already missed over 100 games due to suspensions. Washington, to my knowledge, really only had one incident.

    Two, Washington’s punch was actually somewhat defensible. Kermit had already been pushed by one of the players in the midst of the scuffle and was backing away when he turned and saw Rudy T running at him. Sounds at least somewhat like self-defense. Not so in the case of Metta.

    I don’t so much care about the length of the initial suspension. What I’d like Stern to do is put this guy on notice that if he does it one more time, he’s done.

    Posted by Lochpster | April 23, 2012, 3:15 pm
    • Loch, I agree with you on that. Put the entire league on notice that regardless of intent, thugishness will not be tolerated. If its the fake toughness of KG or accidental elbows to peoples head or body it makes no difference. This is a much different game than it was thirty years ago and the league/stern has one thing to protect…not the players health but its own image.

      I hate to say it, but if this was a playoff game, harden would have been back in it. And the fact that he flew home to Oklahoma instead of staying at a hospital in la just shows that the elbow looked worse than it ended up being.

      If stern and owners of the NBA really cared about these serious injuries, the penalties would be much harsher and players would have been on notice a long time ago. But they know what the value of walking that fine line is and it’s too many $$$ to be giving up.

      Posted by Anti bill simmons | April 23, 2012, 3:29 pm
  6. Give 26 games to Jason Smith and Andre Miller(last year)while we’re at it. The result may have not been as damaging, but the intent behind their actions and possible consequences are the same or worse.

    Posted by William | April 25, 2012, 12:46 am
    • Throw the book at Bynum while we’re at it. The Barea play last year was a repeat offence. He broke Gerald Wallace’s ribs and destroyed Michael Beasley doing THE EXACT SAME THING. They were NOT basketball plays, in the slightest. No place in the game for that B.S.

      Posted by William | April 25, 2012, 12:51 am
  7. He got 7 games which is silly. He deserved a bunch more IMO. That was not a basketball play at all and he intended to drive his elbow into the back of Harden’s head. He deserves about 40 games, or a lifetime ban for being a repeat offender.

    Posted by nightbladehunter | April 25, 2012, 7:15 am
    • some fact for y’all…12 suspensions for 110 games and 1 of those was for 86. so in effect he has had 11 minor suspensions averaging 2 games.

      here are some suspensions that justify 7 games he got…

      2/6/12
      The NBA suspended Kevin Love (Min) for 2 games for stomping on the upper
      body of Luis Scola (Hou) while Scola was on the floor during Saturday’s

      4/13/11
      The NBA suspended Charlie Villanueva (Det) for 5 games for initiating an
      altercation with Ryan Hollins (Cle) during Monday’s Det-Cle game and for
      attempting to escalate the altercation after his ejection by trying to
      enter Cleveland’s locker room.

      1/29/11
      The NBA suspended Marvin Williams (Atl) for 2 games and Shawne Williams
      (NY) for 1 game for their altercation during Friday’s Atl-NY game where
      MWilliams threw 2 punches and SWilliams threw 1 punch.

      4/18/10
      The NBA suspended Kevin Garnett (Bos) for 1 game for throwing an elbow at
      Quentin Richardson (Mia) during Saturday’s Mia-Bos game.

      3/10/10
      The NBA suspended Ryan Hollins (Min) for 2 games for punching DeShawn
      Stevenson (Dal) and hitting Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) in the head (separate
      incidents) during Monday’s Dal-Min game.

      NOW, someone make a case why it should’ve been longer than 7. to me, 7 games still takes into account his previous issues in the league.

      Posted by Anti Bill Simmons | April 25, 2012, 11:17 am
      • Funny stuff. 11!? minor suspensions averaging 2 games. I guess you thought people would overlook the 11 and focus on your “minor” and “averaging…” qualifiers. Ron/Metta caught a break with the 7 games and you know it.

        I think his recent good citizenship and that Harden doesn’t appear to be seriously hurt likely saved him from a much longer suspension. Trying to pretend that it’s JUST a matter of it being in line with past suspensions is a bit silly.

        Posted by ks | April 25, 2012, 2:29 pm
        • 6 suspensions for 12 games in 2003 mostly for flagrant fouls and accumulated flagrant foul points.

          3 since the palace brawl in 2004 for 9 games; and 1 of those for 7 games was for a no contest plea to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge.

          everyone has this image of MWP from 2004 and when you consider what he has done since then both on the court and off, its pretty impresive. as was noted in the article, he’s improved every team he has joined and done some amazing work in the community.

          Posted by Anti Bill Simmons | April 26, 2012, 8:42 am
      • ABS – There are couple of things that you are not taking into account:

        1.) Artest’s prior behavior and record, certainly plays a part, and absolutely should. Any judicious body is smart to include past transgressions, so this should be of no surprise.
        2.) This was an elbow to the head. An elbow – not a forearm, or a fist, but an elbow, which in my opinion is far more sharper and damaging weapon. And the head – which is the most vulnerable part of the body. To me, this makes a difference. It was exceptionally dangerous attack and could have killed Harden. Had Artest elbowed Harden below the neck, I would have looked at this far different.
        3.) It was an intentional strike

        The combination of these 3 things items differentiate this act from the others. The better question that should be asking is why would Kermit Washington get only 26 games, and Artest only 7? Just because the end result was worse? Artest’s intent and act was far more dangerous.

        Posted by The NBA Realist | April 25, 2012, 6:07 pm
        • I actually agree with most of your points (it was intentional, but he didnt seek harden out the way he did barae last year) and when a first time offender is given 1-2 games for an elbow or punch to the head of another player and MWP gets 3x that, I think they took all those things into account.

          Consider shaq throwing a punch at brad miller…or some of the suspensions I noted above. Those were as egregious as what MWP did to Harden; the only difference was their prior behavior and when you consider MWP’s suspension being 3x as long; I think Stern got it right.

          One other thing regarding the 7 games, and I know most people are going to disagree, but the one regular season game could have dropped them from the 3 seed to the 4 seed, had the clippers won out which would pit the lakers against memphis. without MWP, this series would favor Memphis. And the 6 playoff games “count” more than regular season games. If you disagree with this, then you are also disagreeing with Stern, cause he said as much yesterday.

          I think 7 was a fair number…anything more than 10 and they might as well banned him for life, cause the lakers would have amnestied him and no one would pick him up next year.

          Posted by Anti Bill Simmons | April 26, 2012, 8:28 am
  8. one more for those who didnt start watching this sport until lebron moved out of his moms house…

    2/8/95
    The league has suspended Vernon Maxwell (Hou) for a minimum of 10
    games and fined him $20,000 for going into the stands and punching
    a fan during Monday’s Hou-Por game. Maxwell will have to meet
    with league officials later to determine if he should be allowed
    to return after the 10 games or if his suspension should be
    extended. The fine ties the highest fine in league history and
    the suspension is the 2nd longest in league history [Kermit
    Washington was suspended for 28 games for punching Rudy
    Tomjanovich in 1977]. The suspension will cost Maxwell over
    $200,000 in lost salary.

    Posted by Anti Bill Simmons | April 25, 2012, 11:22 am

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