Posts tagged ‘Ron Artest’

April 25, 2012

Suspended Metta still battling inner demons

It is awfully easy to make fun of Metta World Peace’s name now, to discard it as a joke after he threw an elbow at James Harden’s head.

How does this sound: David Stern suspended World Peace for seven games Tuesday.

Well, that’s what happened. World Peace got off easy, and could be back playing for the Los Angeles Lakers as early as a potential Game 7 of the first round of the playoffs.

“The concussion suffered by James Harden demonstrates the danger posed by violent acts of this kind, particularly when they are directed at the head area,” NBA commissioner Stern said in a statement Tuesday night. “We remain committed to taking necessary measures to protect the safety of NBA players, including the imposition of appropriate penalties for players with a history of on-court altercations.”

I hate to think that maybe Stern just didn’t want to punish one of his premiere, ratings-driving teams too much, especially as the playoffs begin.

Last week, the NHL knocked out its own notorious head-hunter for 25 games, which is exactly what World Peace should have gotten. Shots to the head in sports are just that important now. The difference, of course, is that the NHL has a problem with its culture. The NBA only has a problem with Ron Artest.

I am not buying the argument that Artest’s last three years of good behavior — including the name change to World Peace — were just an act. The old Artest was real. And the new World Peace was real, too.

When he threw that elbow at Harden during Sunday’s game against Oklahoma City, too many people saw that as an Aha! moment. The real Artest was coming out. Not the fake World Peace.

Is there some reason we have to make things so simple? World Peace/Artest. Good/Bad. Pretty/Ugly. Black/White. Up/Down. It so easy to think in either/or, and not to look at the complexities of a man who clearly has issues with faulty wiring.

The name change to World Peace was not just a PR stunt. It was a man trying to fix himself. No one can, or should, forget the Malice at the Palace, when he jumped into the stands, as Artest, in Detroit, punched a fan and helped to start a riot between players and paying customers.

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