We are writing in response to the article entitled “Artest turns Palace into a castle of horrors”, written by Santo Caruso in the most recent edition of the Villanovan. The article compared the recent NBA catastrophe in Detroit to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and it developed the argument using certain cases that the author felt were accurate.
It is outrageous to think that the two can fathomably be compared, and frankly it is disturbing. It has been said numerous times after the September 11 attacks that sports are not war, and war is not sports. Although the two attacks are certainly disgraceful, the prison scandal is such a far cry from the NBA that we feel it is totally inappropriate to write about the two together.
The point of this sports column was to arrive at a reason for Ron Artest’s actions, and ended with a piece of advice to fans to “leave personal tragedies out of it.” We must ask then: where in this message do the prisoners and soldiers at Abu Ghraib fit in? The repercussions of their actions are far more severe than any possible NBA punishment could be – many of the soldiers at Abu Ghraib will see their careers end, and it may be years in jail before they could see another job. What is the worst that any of the players face? Oh, they might lose some money in salary. Big whoop – they can just draw on the cool millions they have in the bank. Tough to compare here. Furthermore, the cannot accurately put himself in a soldier’s mindset without actually having been involved in the situation. It is inappropriate to assume that soldiers act the way they do in a situation without knowing the circumstances they are surrounded by.
However, the absolute worst part of this article is the following quote: “After fighting for so long [soldiers] returned to nothing but hatred from those whom they fought for. This must be what it is like to be an athlete on a national level.” Are you kidding me? Does Mr. Caruso not understand the life of a professional athlete? Does he forget the millions of dollars and chartered limos and jets and the personal high-selling jerseys that go along with being Ben Wallace or Ron Artest? It’s hard for us to feel terrible for the typical professional athlete in any circumstance, but it’s impossible to think that they suffer the same image issues as soldiers that risk their lives every day.
It is understandable to be upset over the prison scandal as well as the NBA incident. However, if the author wants to write about the fallout from the brawl, using Abu Ghraib or any military conflict for that matter is inappropriate and unnecessary. We feel that Mr. Caruso can express his opinions accurately without making the shaky comparisons to our soldiers and their actions, no matter how deplorably they have been portrayed.
Sincerely,Michael Lyon ’06Nathan Tiedeken ’06