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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