NBA Suspends Ron Artest. But who will help him change?
The NBA has suspended Ron Artest for seven games after he beat down the Oklahoma City Thunder’s James Harden.
There’s two things about that statement. The first is that at this moment it’s hard to even type the name Metta World Peace after what he did to James Harden.
The second is that what happened wasn’t a hard foul or lapse of judgment. He sought to and purposely took Harden out. Let’s move on.
League commissioner David Stern issued a statement on the league’s website.
“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,” Stern said. “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.”
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak issued his own statement on behalf of the team.
“Metta has for the most part been a model citizen both on and off the court since joining the Lakers. Still, his most recent lapse in judgment is not to be condoned or accepted. His actions could have seriously injured another player, and his absence during this suspension will hurt our team as well. While we accept the league’s decision, we will be supportive of Metta and try to help him be more professional on the court.”
As angry as a lot of NBA fans are, there is a bigger issue that is not being addressed.
Artest has a problem. It is a well documented problem. The anger that rides shotgun to these mishaps often takes center stage instead of his problem. Artest himself has done a lot of charity work to help children afflicted with his problem.
It is no one’s right to deny someone the ability to make a living because they have a problem. Unless, that problem brings harm to others or prevents others from making that same living that the offender enjoys.
That’s the difference between what Robin Lopez did to Blake Griffin last week and what Ron Artest does every time he loses control of himself.
For the past 48 or so hours, how many times have you heard statements like ‘you would think he would have learned by now.’
Again the root of his problem is being pushed aside. I’ll admit it; I got swept right up in it. I saw the situation live as it unfolded and it made me sick to my stomach.
Now that time is putting some perspective on this, if the NBA really wants to do the right thing, they will help Artest find a permanent solution to managing his anger in the workplace.
If the NBA really wants to do the right thing for James Harden, they will help set a course for a true wellness plan that will help Artest complete some of the work that he has already started for himself.
If this doesn’t happen, something will happen again. And when you deal with this type of issue, you can’t predict the severity of the event. You only survey and gauge the damage done.