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Do you think the NBA players who were suspended for fighting were punished appropriately?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on November 23, 2004

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Photo of Hearne Christopher

“It seems kind of harsh, although I haven’t seen the video. I guess they were just trying to make an example. They may also be trying to cover themselves when the lawyers suit up to sue everybody.”

Photo of Eric Bowen

“I think it was a little harsh, but obviously they deserve some kind of suspension.”

Photo of Carlena Haney

“Yes, I think they were punished appropriately. I think they need to rein in violence.”

Photo of Tiffany Gunnels

“I think it was a little too harsh. I believe that if someone is going to hit you then you have to defend yourself. There may have been other options, but I still think that the suspensions were too long.”


lunacydetector 13 years, 5 months ago

they did the right thing by suspending them. being a multimillionaire superstar should not give a person the right to take the law into their own hands. people pay big money for courtside seats - correction: ringside seats.

the players should've walked away, but with bigtime athletics comes big time egos to go along with those bigtime paychecks. having them sit in jail for their crimes might do them some good as well.

remember_username 13 years, 5 months ago

It kind of depends on the context. When I consider the loss of salary of the player it appears as if he received a five million dollar fine for assault - that's a bit excessive considering nobody was hospitalized and it was started by the fan. Granted I think these players are way over paid, and he still made one million, but that is by itself a poor excuse.

Is it just me, or does it seem to others that there is a lot less civility in sports these days. In fact it seems like there is less civility everywhere. I really doubt that these suspensions will hold up under appeal or change the way players and fans have been behaving in the long run. There is something else going on we need to correct - not sure what it is, but it's time we thought about it.

lunacydetector 13 years, 5 months ago

those players started hitting when they should've had the beer thrower tossed. they also hit innocent bystanders. is being drenched in beer excuse enough to beat the crap outta someone, and innocent bystanders? shoot first, ask questions later.

mrcairo 13 years, 5 months ago

The arena has the responsibility to protect the players. The players have the responsibility to ignore obnoxious fans.

I'd like to see charges filed against the fan(s), and I'd like to see the players barred from playing again.

Same for players who get caught using drugs. Ban them for life.

craigers 13 years, 5 months ago

I know I hardly ever say this, but I agree with mrcairo on this one. I think the players should never play again. They make tons of money to play basketball and then they get a hard foul and want to fight. I know you have to be a legal adult to start playing in the NBA but man these guys are 6 year-olds mentally. If you can't walk away from a hard foul then you should go home and pout on your couch. It is good to see that the american people are paying these players millions of dollars a year to be childish punks, especially the players that just came from the other side of the situation and took cheap shots at fans. Get a life and learn how to just play. However, I would have liked to see the fans that threw stuff drug out of the stands by their hair. They were probably drunk and won't remember anything tomorrow anyway.

bigcat 13 years, 5 months ago

I think that the biggest thing that annoyed me was the total lack of security. It was ridiculous that you saw fans try to be security for other fans or players instead of the people that get paid for it. I never understood when some players were interviewed after the incident and said that fans shouldn't be allowed to harass players. That is part of the job whether they like it or not. They are getting paid millions and in exchange they are put under microscopes. Many fans love to go to the games to have the ability to release. Is it OK if a crowd of thousands yell at a ref? Yet he only gets paid crumbs as compared to the players. But he/she understands that it is part of the game and their job. Even in high school you have degrading fans. I remember having ice cubes thrown at my high school football team from the opposing fans as we went back into the locker room at half time. The fans were dealt with by the administration and security at the game, yet we had enough sense to ignore in high school. This is just another proof that some professional athletes believe that they are above the common person, law, and reality. Just my 2 cents.

Larry 13 years, 5 months ago

What a day craigers! I agree with mrcairo as well.

The suspensions were perfect and any less would have been ridiculous. It is amazing how well people will listen when the consequences for NOT listening are great. I would guess that the rest of the NBA players were listening quite well when the punishments/consequences were handed out. The league office has sent a message to all players, teams officials and site management. I wonder if the security cameras would help determine which fans were involved with throwing items at the players? Those fans should be held accountable as well.

craigers 13 years, 5 months ago

I think some of the players that know how lucky they are would be the alums from KU. Jauque Vaugn, Raef, Ostertag, just to name a few but they are very respectful and show a lot of class.

mr_daniels 13 years, 5 months ago

Liberalism run amok! Rush describes Detroit as "New Fallujah". Punishment too harsh? Nah! Drop kick the perpetrators into Lake Michigan!

Libcon 13 years, 5 months ago

Picture this: You are at work and someone comes into your office screaming profnaities and hurling beer at you. would you

A. smile and take a shower B. forgive the person on the spot C. laugh it off D. run after then and punch them

Also, that person would be immediatley thrown in jail.

think about that

jonas 13 years, 5 months ago

Libcon: My salary is slightly less than $500k a year, I don't entertain people for a living, my job doesn't involve spectators, or energizing those spectators, and you forgot option e) get the cops, or security personel, to neutralize and remove the infractor (is that a word?). Which is much easier at a basketball game than at my work as those security personel are already right there.

I would work at a job at which the sole work description was having people yell profanities at you and throw beer at you for the amount basketball players make doing what they do. I could take at least two years of it, no sweat.

badger 13 years, 5 months ago

I think the suspensions were appropriate.

I don't think banning them for life would be. With the exception of Artest, it didn't seem like the people involved were habitually like this. I'd hate to see someone never able to play again because of one moment of bad judgment.

I've been places where tempers flared, things got said or done or thrown that probably shouldn't have been. I'm inclined to punish firmly but not permanently for a loss of control like this.

Out of curiosity, I see that Artest is considered to be kind of 'like this.' Has he been punished before? I think that if aggressive and 'edgy' behaviour hasn't been punished adequately in the past, it's also partly the league's fault that it's gone this far. If you don't enforce discipline at all levels, including minor infractions, you have to acknowledge some level of responsibility when the situation gets out of control like this.

I understand that the players get paid a lot of money to entertain, but what part of your ticket price allows you hurl abusive language, insults, beer, or anything else at players? Too many fans think that just because someone plays a sport for their entertainment, that they somehow have 'ownership' of that person and a right to treat him badly. I think the job description of a pro basketball player is, "Play hard. Play well. Win games." Nothing in there about accepting having things thrown at you, being insulted on the street, being spit at or on, having guys who just lost a bundle on your game take a swing at you, or anything else like that.

So while I agree that they were waaaaay out of line and absolutely merited the suspensions, I'm not so sure I can agree with, "Well, that's what they get paid for."

Fangorn 13 years, 5 months ago

So Jonas, if you make around $500k a year, are you paying for the coffee? Just kidding!

One note about the security at the game: many of the security personnel were already in the parking areas preparing to direct the post-game onslaught of traffic. Had this melee occurred earlier in the game, it might have been controlled sooner.

The suspensions were appropriate. This type of behavior is unacceptable, including that of some of the fans. The fan who threw the beer should be kicked out and fined also. That would be considered assault in the real world. And I don't think the fines are excessive. Their salaries, yes; the fines, no. Any fine should both punish past behavior and deter future behavior. Someone who makes million$ a year won't be deterred by an anemic $5000 fine. Many employers have "suspension without pay" consequences for certain behaviors. The NBA shouldn't be any different.

penguin 13 years, 5 months ago

the punishment is pretty fair considering those involved. Artest has served around 9 or 10 suspensions for game misconduct over the course of his very short career. He changed his number to 91 this year to emulate Rodman. Has asked to take time off from playing basketball during the season to promote his albulm. This is the image he wants.....or seems to want. Although I'm sure he didn't want him to cost this much. I think the whole incident just shows the complete disconnect between players and fans. It started with increasing salaries and the discontent increased during the Olympics and now seems at a fever pitch.

This just makes me realize how little I enjoy watching the NBA. It's not just the length of the season (the baseball season is twice as long in terms of regular season games and I love it), it's not just overpaid players (every sport has those), and it is not that I do not like basketball (I love it...College Basketball that is). The problem is the NBA breeds the me first attitude more than any other team sport. Because one player can make such a difference, the focus is more on the individual.

Also this is a PR move plain and simple. David Stern (NBA Commish) is one of the most media savvy people in all of sports management. He took a league that was falling out of favor and made it a worldwide game. He made the NBA draft a made for TV event (again fueling that me first attitude, because draft position is critical in the NBA). He is doing this out of despiration of losing fans who do not want to see occur again. It makes sense in the end.

Fans should behave at the game of course, but a cup of ice hitting you vs. losing millons because you carelessly rush the stands should pop into every players mind the next time they consider rushing fans. Also I think his teammates who went into the stands to fight with fans (Jermaine O'Neil and Stephen Jackson) got off light. They should have had the same punishment as Artest

optimist 13 years, 5 months ago

Those athletes overreacted to a bunch of morons in the stands. Artest hit an innocent guy because he couldn't control himself.
I think for the same reason these guys are paid so much they should have a high standard of conduct placed on them. This was televised. Children witnessed this abhorrent behavior. Frankly I believe from what I saw that O'Neill and Artest at the least should serve jail time for assault. Artest should pay for assault on an innocent fan just standing there minding his business and O'Neill for blind siding the fan that Artest was attacking on the court.
Any fan who entered the court should lose their season tickets and be fined for trespassing. Any player who entered the stands should have been suspended whether they hit anyone or not. Fans and players alike who were aggressors should be jailed. In some cases people were defending themselves and I can't blame them for that but if they initiated violence with anyone its jail time.
Fans around the country seem to have a propensity for violence. How many times have riot police been called out in cities to quell violence and destruction after the cities professional sports team wins a championship?

craigers 13 years, 5 months ago

I think on a sidenote that the security personell at the game should've had tazers and tazed all the players and fans. That would have been pretty cool and we all would have seen what exactly a tazer is capable of.

Hi_Jinks 13 years, 5 months ago

True, both the players actions (throwing punches) and the fans behavior (many throwing beer, some throwing punches, and even one nutty fan throwing a folding chair) are truly troublesome and disturbing to any right-minded adults who witnessed this event--let alone any children who may have been forced to bear witness!

But you know something?

I think that the most troublesome and disturbing aspect in all of this will be the sudden surge in sales of Ron Artest #91 Indiana Pacers basketball jerseys at sports apparel shops around the country!! And I say that because I am willing to bet that that will happen! There are far too many young, testosterone-filled males in this country that love "notorious bad boys" like Ron Artest....and if you are a young gang-banger male....what better way to show the world that you are a "bad boy who is not to be messed with" than by "proudly" wearing a Ron Artest #91 Indiana Pacers jersey out in public!!

Man! There are some twisted people in this world!!

Libcon 13 years, 5 months ago

Two things:

  1. players should never go in the crowd

  2. fans should never go on the court

if either does, they get what they deserve. That fool in the pistons jersey that got clocked twice deserved it. No one knew what he was going to do. It's like a suspect reaching in his pocket to grab a piece of gum, the cops don't know that so they are aloud to shoot him b/c it may be a gun.

Jay_Z 13 years, 5 months ago

I think Ron Artest was unfairly singled out, I think 50 games would have been more fair. What should be the punishment for those idiotic fans who felt it necessary to throw stuff at the players and for those fans who came on to the court looking for trouble?

acg 13 years, 5 months ago

Jonas, you make 500K a year? Did you need a mistress? I'm very discreet. :)

Jessi 13 years, 5 months ago

they got what they deserved! lean some personal control! Especially if you make as much money as those players do.

Libcon 13 years, 5 months ago

Jonas, you make $500,000 a year. was that some kind of plug for you to meet women on the internet?

who cares who much you make or anyone else makes. It's not the players fault. So just b/c players make more (even with inflation) nowadays is not their fault. It's the owners fault.

Yes, the players were wrong for going in the crowd, but the fans were just as stupid and wrong. But don't blame the players for making a lot of money. If you had a choice to make $400,000 or $500,000 what do you think you would chooses?

ms_canada 13 years, 5 months ago

Sounds like your basketball games are getting as violent as our hockey games up here in the frozen north. It is most regrettable that violence has to invade more and more of our lives. We have had a couple of bad cases here where the players were fined because they resorted to extreme violence. One player ended up in hospital for several days with severe concusion and a broken bone in his neck. When my grandson was younger and I went to his games, I thought I would have a stroke from my blood pressure going up. I was terrified that he would get hurt badly or in a brawl and thrown out of the game. I don't understand why anyone would want to watch all that fighting. Makes me think of the gladiatorial (is it a word) 'games' of the old Roman empire. The people, apparently, went crazy for the blood and gore. Have we not advanced past that mentality? Such a shame. And just a word about the guy, was it Libcon?, making such terrible remarks about the muslims. Naughty, naughty and more than naughty. and also a word to nicegirl, you are not as much in the minority as you think. there are more of us out here who share your faith and trust in the LORD and believe that the Bible is His word. All of it is His word, not just parts of it. We are not to pick and choose which part we will believe and follow. I, for one, do not have that much wisdom or discernmetnt. So hang in there, nicegirl, you have friends out here. Sorry for such a long note, but I get gremlins in my machine and cannot always post. so hope this goes thru

Lulu 13 years, 5 months ago

This fighting is the very reason why I feel competitive sports are detrimental to society as a whole.

If womyn ran the world, there wouldn't be the senseless fighting and wars. Think about it people. It is high time womyn rose up in the name of putting down the tyranny we see happening everyday.

The WNBA for instance -players make nothing compared to their male counterparts, high paying executive job assigned exclusively to men, with the lowly womyn assigned as their secretaries.

ms_canada 13 years, 5 months ago

So sorry, libcon, got you mixed with mrcairo, what a bad guy. Shame on him.

Hi_Jinks 13 years, 5 months ago

LuLu.....what generation are you stuck in? It's 2004! Those stereotypes you keep using to bash men (And that's just what you do....bash men!) are getting kind of old!

In your next post, you're probably going to say....."I would say more, but I have to go watch my two favorite "fighting the feminist-battle shows" on TV....Maude and then Mary Tyler Moore."

Is that it, LuLu? Are you still stuck in the 1970's?

Oh, please! Go burn a bra or something....if it'll make you feel better!

pimp11 13 years, 5 months ago

man whatever the fans started it all. artest was calming down after a hard shove from B. Wallace and wasnt going to respond to that shove. so that has to be in consideration..... but of course its over-looked. having a full cup of beer I assume thrown in your face is rediculous. Hell yeah I would go in the stands. Put yourself in that situation. You just going to be a pussy and say cool. Thanks for buying me a beer, I didnt get to drink it all though??????? I did see when Artest was in the crowd that before he even threw a punch that he was being hit in the head numerous times. Artest gets suspended what about the fan.... Wow banned for the rest of the season from the Palace. Slap him on the wrist why dont ya. Artest is missing out on his what $4.1 million contract this year because of a damn drunken fan!!!!! Way to go!!!!!!!!! Oh and the dumba$$ who came on the court deserved to get his a$$ knocked out. He should be fined too! Whats the difference between Artest in the stands and dipsh*t on the court?????

GO KU!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jay_Z 13 years, 5 months ago

That's why I think Artest suspension is too harsh....he loses over $4 million, probably loses any chance for endorsement money in the future, plus he's suspended for the rest of the season. Yes, those idiots who came out on the court deserved to get their a$$ knocked out. And pimp11 is right, when Artest went into the stands, Artest was getting punched in the head before Artest even threw a punch--watch the tape. Artest was probably wrong to go into the stands, but the Detroit Pistons organization and the fans must be held accountable too, and harshly like Artest was.

pimp11 13 years, 5 months ago

damn right JayZ. holla!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jonas 13 years, 5 months ago

My quotation of salary was sarcastic, by the way, in the first post. I don't know if that came across. If, by "slightly less," one means "fractional" or perhaps, "wholly inadequate in comparison too." That sort of thing. I've only got a B.A. in English. You can imagine my salary range, I'm sure, without too much trouble.

pimp11 13 years, 5 months ago

one more thing..... I think that B. Wallace should have been suspended longer than he is. What is he a pussy and cant take a hard foul??? A foul's a foul. Players are taught to foul 'em hard enough so they cant get an and one... for those none ballers a and one is when they make the shot and are fouled. so really Wallace should be the cause of ALL OF THIS!!!!!!!!! Quit being a baby, wow you got fouled. Shut up and play!

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