We also remember the fallout from the fight that saw Artest lose the whole season and Stephen Jackson losing 25 games of the year. Something else sticks out to me. After that fight, Artest, Jackson and any other basketball player who was involved in an on court altercation was immediately typecast as a “hoodlum.” Analysts on ESPN, columns in major newspapers, even college reporters all called for some of these players to face harsh fines and punishments. But I ask the simple question, why isn't it the same for everyone?
On August 16, the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels were involved in a late season ball game. The year is coming to a close and a major race for the last wild card position is taking place. Yet, those facts were not what stood out about this game.
During play, hitters began to get struck by pitches in retaliation of earlier actions. Before the night was over, the teams were involved in a bench and bullpen clearing fight that went on for more than four minutes. After all was said and done, eight people were suspended: two managers and six players. The worst of those received a six-game vacation for his actions during the fights.
What sickens me the most is that the next day, some of these players were praised for standing up for their teammates. Personalities on ESPN and other columnists called their punishments harsh and uncalled for.
Calling this a major difference in response to what happened in the NBA would be an understatement.
My question is why is there such a difference between the two sports when it comes to violence enforcement? Artest even faced criminal charges for his part in the melee, but you will never see that for the brawls that occur during baseball.
John Rocker was in more hot water for the comments he made in a Sports Illustrated article than some of the baseball players involved in the fight will face.
I would like for things to work equally across the board, but until someone does something about instances just as these, people should hold their tongues before using them to condemn.
Reach Raphael at firstname.lastname@example.org