Singing Loudly: The Saddest Day in American Sports

Singing Loudly

Saturday, November 20, 2004

The Saddest Day in American Sports

On Friday night, November 20, 2004, America witnessed the most heartbreaking event in American sports when a riot broke out at Palace Arena. Both the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers and all of the fans in Detroit should be ashamed of what happened. However, I think, the fans have the most shame in this horrible event.

Fans fighting with players in the stands...players fighting with fans on the court. This was a terrible event to witness on TV, sad to watch on the news, and probably gutwrenching to see first hand.

What started as a hard foul from Ron Artest against Ben Wallace (Big Ben) turned into a flagrant foul when Wallace retaliated by striking Artest. Let's be honest, at this point the only person at fault is Ben Wallace. It was a hard foul but that is something that happens in the NBA. Everybody knows it. Wallace has felt it before and should know how to behave.

This is historic and will change the NBA forever. This is a fantastic league with great things going on. However, the fans ruined this for everyone involved.

What followed was entirely, and I say entirely, the fault of the fans. Detroit fans should be ashamed. You are cowards. You are scoundrels. You are a fucking embarrasment to our country. When you start to bring the were an actor in this. You chose to get involved.

After the hit from Wallace against Artest the teams all ran together. Some of them coming to attack back and others to stop the fight from escalating. The players, coaches, and refs were taking care of things. Ron Artest, who just was hit in the face, laid out on the table to keep his cool. Then a fucking fan threw his beer onto Artest from the stand.

Hold it right there. I know what people will say...Artest had no business going into the stands. Players shouldn't run into the stands under any circumstances. Take a moment and think about what you are saying. Artest had done nothing out of the ordinary and a fan had the gumption, the idiocy, the cowardice, to throw a beer on an NBA player who had just been attacked.

Artest was assaulted by a fan and he retaliated. It wasn't a wise move but it wasn't wrong per se.

After Artest ran into the stands and hit the fan another fan threw a drink in Artests face. Stephen Jackson was running up to stop Artest and help the fans and saw that so he hit that fan. Soon the coaches and players were in the stands. Fans would take shots at the players while their backs were turned. Players would retaliate.

A fan in a basketball court comes up and hits Artest in the back of the head. Stephen Jackson gets hit. Artest goes back down to the court. There is a fan trying to sneak up on Artest, on the court, and Artest turns around and sees him. He hits that fan. Then another fan comes on the court to attack and Jeremaine O'Neil comes down.

They finally get Artest into the locker room. Stephen Jackson follows him. While O'Neil is leaving some fucking fan throws a chair through the audience towards players. People fall and get hurt. An older lady falls and gets trampled.

Meanwhile, while the Pacers try to exit the fans are crowding that area to throw drinks, popcorn, articles of clothing, and everything else at the players.

Detroit fans have forever tarnished their own image. They have tarnished the NBA. They have tarnished American sports this evening.

Go to ESPN and poll about who you think was at fault if you got to see this sad event.


Crazy night, here's pix and link to video: 

Posted by fwned

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:59 AM, November 20, 2004  

Thanks for the A/V links!

This is all very interesting. Let me make one clarification. I don't think it was a good idea for Artest to run into the stands, provocked or not. However, I don't think that it was legally wrong for him to do it. Looking at the tapes over a few seems he pushed the guy in the black shirt who wasn't the guy that threw the beer. He didn't throw any punches at anyone, however, until he was hit by fans.

Wrong for him to go into the stands. Wrong for fans to make themselves actors in this mess and get Artest's emotions to set him off. Wrong for fans to throw punches when he pushed down the fan. Wrong, wrong, wrong. 

Posted by Curtis

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:05 AM, November 20, 2004  

Artest is a punk and a criminal. He had no reason to go up in the stands. He lost control that everyone in society should be required to maintain. He is a 6'9" guy who doesn't really need to retaliate or be protected from a a cup of water thrown by a much smaller drunk frat boy in the stands. He is an entertainer and sometimes entertainers have to handle the masses that pay their bills. By entering the stands he threatened the safety of many more people than the drunken fan had endangered. Artest, Jackson, and O'Neal crossed the line.  

Posted by joey

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:23 AM, November 20, 2004  

Joey, watch the tape again, it was actually the guy who was probably 290 lbs who threw the beer at Artest. That doesn't matter though because I'd bet you a few hundred bucks no District Attorney in the country would bring an indictment against Ron Artest for what he did. Call him a criminal if you wish...the prosecutors in this country wouldn't ever agree with you. 

Posted by Curtis

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:43 AM, November 20, 2004  

So...72 games.  

Posted by JM

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:35 PM, November 21, 2004  

Harsh sentence against Artest! I'm surprised that he and Jackson didn't get similar sentences. 

Posted by Curtis

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:00 PM, November 21, 2004  

I thought it was unduly harsh against Artest, and that he was singled out. I would have guessed ~30 like the rest of them. 

Posted by JM

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:17 PM, November 21, 2004  

They're trying to send a message about going into the stands and Stern doesn't like Artest. Both of those probably factor into the long suspension. 

Posted by Curtis

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:45 PM, November 21, 2004  

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