By: Ryan Wooley
After taking two days to think about what suspension should be given to Metta World Peace (Ron Artest), the league announced tonight he will miss the next seven games starting on Thursday with the Lakers regular season finale, and I can’t help but wonder why his actions are still tolerated here in 2012?
I think we’re eight years past due on what should have happened to him which was a lifetime ban after his part during the “Malice at the Palace,” after he broke the biggest rule of all by attacking fans.
Now don’t get me wrong, I believe everyone deserves a second chance–but only to a point. When someone deliberately harms another player whether it be in the NBA, the Saints bounty scandal in the NFL, or in any other sport, they deserve to be banished from that league because their attack is just that, an attack.
Nothing in the time played during a sporting event should give athletes a free pass to do what they will to someone else. Its mind-blowing that it’s acceptable to intentionally harm someone during a game and get just a penalty, ejected or in this case a seven game suspension, yet if the same action was done on the street like Peace’s elbow, Shea Weber’s hit on Henrik Zetterberg or any of the Saints hits during the bounty scandal, they would be charged with assault and thrown in jail.
Now I know it’s hard to relate a sporting event to real-life because they’re two totally different things and I want to be clear, I’m not against any athlete playing hard and rough. I understand that playing a sport is physical and sometimes injuries will happen. But again, an intentional action to hurt someone has no place in any sport.
World Peace can claim all day long that he didn’t see Harden or that his celebration was too over the top, but it’s clear he meant to do what he did and unfortunately it gave Harden a concussion. Don’t believe me that it was intentional? Watch for yourself and you decide.
I truly think all the talk about making the game safer for everyone involved will continue to fall on deaf ears until one of the four major leagues step up and say enough is enough and ban someone for good for doing these illegal actions.
Until then, we will consistently see athletes bend and break the rules and only be slapped on the wrist with small fines and even smaller suspensions.
In my mind the NBA truly dropped the ball on this one especially because World Peace is repeat offender.
Follow Ryan Wooley on Twitter: @WooleyMammoth85