Okay, I'm skipping all the political stuff right now so I can give my two cents on the fight. If you don't know what 'the fight' is, check out espn.com or something...HUGE brawl between some players on the Pacers, an some fans of the Pistons, towards the end of the game. You really need to see the footage...
Anyway, so as to how it all started - what IS Ron Artest doing fouling Wallace with 45 seconds left and a 15-point lead? Is there ANY good reason to push him? (Also, I've intentionally not read anything online about this incident) BUT, watching ESPN last night, I have a strong feeling that sportswriters are calling it a 'hard' foul. It wasn't. It was barely a scratch, and when you're as huge as Ben Wallace is, it takes more than a tap from behind to do any damage.
Second, what IS Ben Wallace DOING at all? Seriously - the two-handed superhero punch to the throat of Ron Artest? That's completely inexcusible. It was the most blatant showing of hotheadedness I've seen since, well...Ron Artest did some crazy stuff a couple seasons ago, but nothing like THAT. Not only did that have a good chance at injuring Artest, but the real reason behind it was to provoke Artest into doing something stupid, which he eventually did.
So Wallace throws his punch, the benches clear, guys get separated...everyone KNOWS that Artest is just a time bomb waiting to go off. Anyone who's followed the NBA over the past couple years knows that it doesn't take much to set him off, but also that he's really 'working' on the whole anger issue, and hasn't had a serious incident for a long time. So what does Ben Wallace do? Throws a towel at him! That's setting a GREAT example for the fans (who have had plenty to drink - it's the fourth), and simultaneously proving how 'tough' Wallace is...way tough, dude.
And then there's the beer getting thrown at Artest...I mean, the guy (Artest) has a right to defend himself. Period. I mean, Ben Wallace has Pistons personnel surrounding him when he throws the towel and continues to get everyone around him all agitated, but a fan only has...the rest of the fans. Artest did his absolute best to remove himself from the situation - where else was he supposed to go? Granted a beer isn't exactly going to kill you, but the more people that see that, the more are going to do something similar. It could only have been a matter of time before more dangerous objects were thrown, and that's definitely a self-defense issue. I mean, what if it were bobblehead night and people just started throwing these heavy ceramic dolls at him?
As for Stephen Jackson - what a hotheaded freak. He SHOULD get suspended, just for the way his hair flys to and fro when he punches.
And my other main man - Jermaine O'Neal...I don't know what to say. He's the one who has to live with the constant video of the 'sliding-punch' which, because he was slipping, looked worse than it really was. I mean, the guy who took that punch was coming down onto the floor to confront Artest - where's the security keeping fans away from this stuff? And O'Neal only punched him after Artest laid the smack down on that clown.
Obviously the biggest losers of all time are the Pistons fans. And alcohol I guess is a pretty big loser too. The fact that no one was being held responsible for their actions led to the provocations of Artest et al. But it's going to be Artest, Jackson, and O'Neal who get the majority of the punishment. This effectively ends the Pacers chances of winning it all this year, which is really too bad. All of y'all who know me know that the Pacers are my favorite team, but alas...I'll have to find someone else to cheer for, since everyone is going to be suspended indefinitely. My guess is that they're all done for the season (especially Jackson and Artest, though I think Artest's 'reformed ways' over the past couple years will help him), while Ben Wallace, who started this whole thing, gets a minor suspension (minor in comparison, that is) for the punch and the towel-throwing.