Wrong decision by Stern

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Dear Editor, After a tumultuous week in sports, it is imperative that we all take a step back and examine the carnage that has been left behind in the wake of this mass destruction. We must put into perspective for the lessons that we must learn from these unfortunate circumstances, but I think that I must express my bitter disappointment with the manner in which several of these circumstances escalated. It is a shame where the ball has been passed in terms of blame for the incidents that have occurred, and those who should be accepting their faults are the ones skipping town on this one. Firstly, we must back track to Monday Night Football and Terrell’s desperate housewife, Nicolette Sheridan. It is widely acknowledged that the timing of the commercial at 9pm was inappropriate for the children who witnessed it. To compound that and the poor taste of the commercial due to content, I believe more damage would have been done by the networks that continually replayed the same commercial over and over, and over and over, over the next couple days. Of course, they played these in more time slots available to the children, at times from 7am to 9pm, non-stop. Where were the complaints then? The same networks whose reporters chastised the commercial were the ones who used it to aid their headline hugging reports all week. Where was the poor taste in that? All I could smell was the stale hypocrisy. The epic proportions of the Friday Night Brawl at Detroit’s Auburn Hills Palace between the fans and The Indiana Pacers were despicable. It is unbelievable that the Pacers players took the brunt of the blame for the incident, and the fat, lazy overpaid executives weighed in with their condemnation of the Pacer players without taking the blame themselves for their incompetence in staffing the right type of security. To say that Ron Artest is the engineer responsible for this brawl is ludicrous. He was the one who endured the hard foul at the other end of the court by Ben Wallace, came up the court and in nothing uncommon to any sport, gave back Wallace some of his own music. In a spat that should have remained on the court between the two players, some hooligans chose to get involved and it was the hooligans that crossed the line. They were the ones who crossed the boundary and came into the playing area. On sports casts all over the country, the incidents were annoyingly replayed over and over as sportscasters weighed in with their own verdicts some in support of the players and some condemning the actions. My thoughts are that the players were wrong to re-act by jumping into the stands, and even though in retrospect it was regrettable, it was humanly understandable. To be taunted and ridiculed continually for the entirety of a game is one thing, but to have your safety jeopardized due to the incapacity of hired security to carry out their duties is another thing. A cup of beer is one thing, but what if it had been something else that the drunken idiot had gotten his/ her hands on, and it had gouged out the eyes of Artest? Who would be laughing now? Surely it would not have been Stern, and his bunch of merry condescending cronies usually quick to rush to judgment. Many sportscasters immediately turned their references of the escalation of crowd troubles to Europe and the violence that occurs in the stands at soccer games. That is where the comparison stops though, because the authorities there deal with the hooligans far more effectively, and have implemented the right type of policies to deal with hooligans and similar incidents. Earlier this week at a “friendly” match between Spain and England, huge sections of the Spanish crowd at Madrid’s Barnebeau Stadium made monkey noises whenever a black English player touched the ball. If that was not racist enough, they then started jumping up and down, and sang in unison, “Don’t stand still if you’re not f**king black.” Past reactions to this have been dealt with immediately and decisively by the European authorities. They seemingly care a lot less about money when it is compared to players’ safety and serious social issues such as addressing and wiping out racism. Teams that have hooligans (n.b not “fans”) who chant racist songs or hold racist banners are fined heavily by their federations for not doing enough to police their fans. In turn, National federations are then fined heavily for not monitoring their fans, and can even face bans from certain competitions. If such an incidence of violence had occurred at a soccer game in Europe, the precedent which would have been followed would have made way for future games to be played in closed arenas – which meant that NO FANS were allowed to watch the games. That means that this sort of punishment is not only directed to the fans, but also to the home team who should have the right policies in place so that they do not lose out on future revenue opportunities. I believe that protecting the NBA’s revenue is what this incident is all about, because that is all that matters to David Stern and the rest of his cronies. They are too concerned that penalizing the hooligans for their ill behavior will take away from the possible revenue stream to be generated for him. Organizations risk too much in blaming fans for what is primarily their fault, because they fear that they will lose sales at the gates, so they sell tickets to hooligans who have been rewarded for their behavior, and then they fine players or withhold salaries and further line their pockets. There is no doubt that this will be copied, and evidently it didn’t take long to replicate its ugly head because in less than twenty-four hours, Clemson and South Carolina were going at each other’s necks, this time on the football field. Most shockingly was that in the post-fight interview, players even validated their actions with comments such as “If one’s going in, all’s going in.” They also referred to the fight the night before as the standard bearer, and something that could not be surpassed, no matter how bad their brawl was. What an example!