“After the punches and counterpunches, after the apologizing and moralizing, it was time for the repercussions. And on a sad, sad night for professional sports, on a sobering night in suburban Detroit, an astonishing hammer was delivered.
It had to be done. After the ugliest brawl came the strongest message, the appropriate message. You hope everyone — players, fans, the whole sports world — heard it.
With stunning clarity, NBA Commissioner David Stern suspended Indiana star Ron Artest for the rest of the season, the harshest penalty in league history for an on-court incident. Artest had precipitated the brawl at Friday night’s Pistons-Pacers game, a disgusting altercation with ripples just starting to grow.
Three other Pacers — Stephen Jackson (30 games), Jermaine O’Neal (25 games) and Anthony Johnson (five games) — also were suspended, essentially gutting that team. Pistons center Ben Wallace, who shoved Artest after a hard foul, was suspended for six games. Three other Pistons — Elden Campbell, Derrick Coleman and Chauncey Billups — were suspended one game, as was Indiana’s Reggie Miller. ”
There has already been much said about this, but I still want to add my voice to the chorus. This cannot be allowed. It cannot be viewed as an an anomaly. I want to see more than a simple suspension.