By Craig Fields
Ron Artest has done it again. Oh I’m sorry. He’s going by the name Metta World Peace these days. Well a rose by any other name is still a rose, and this rose definitely has his fair share of thorns. 15 to be exact. With the suspension he suffered on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 this marked the 15th time in his career that he has been suspended. This is why Metta World Peace will always be Ron Artest. I guess the NBA tends to look down on upper cutting a fellow NBA basketball player. Metta World Peace has consistently been on the side of controversy and has had a tumultuous and turbulent career to say the least. But you have to love this guy right? I mean his name, besides being a “universally beloved concept”, is a direct contradiction to what this man represents. World Peace? Hey Ron, how about developing your own peaceful countenance first.
He can play basketball. No one is disputing that. He can even still play the game at a high level. No one is disputing that either. His defensive acumen led him to the NBA’s 2004 Defensive Player of the Year award, a four time NBA All-Defensive team selection, along with his 14.1 career point average is a testament to that. But should he still be allowed to play the game? The NBA says yes. I will happily dispute that. Now one has to remember that this is the same NBA that allowed Dennis Rodman to stay in the league after perpetually showing his violent and unstable tendencies. “The Worm” was allowed to stay in the league after multiple head butts, a kick to a cameraman’s groin, etc. So after this simple one game suspension the NBA’s stance must be eh, what’s a measly upper cut to the face? Well NBA commissioner David Stern, I’ll tell you what it is: it is a complete and utter disgrace to the product that is the NBA. No longer should thugs like Metta World Peace simply get a slap on the wrist when it comes to these types of infractions; especially when the punishment has proven not to work.
Everyone deserves the opportunity to change. He got that chance and blew it. There comes a point in time when a person is who they are. When asked about whether or not Metta World Peace’s past had anything to do with his most recent suspension, Mike D’Antoni, the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and Ron Artest’s current team said, “I’m sure that goes into it. I think from their philosophy or policy that everything goes into it. They look at the player, they look at who did it and past experiences and they go over it like that.”
Well Mr. D’Antoni how about we take a look at a few of those past transgressions. On April 24, 2012 Metta World Peace was suspended seven games for a flagrant elbow to the head of James Harden causing a concussion. On May 5, 2011 Ron Artest was suspended one game in the playoffs for hitting J.J. Barea in the face. On July 14, 2007 Ron Artest was suspended only 7 games for domestic violence. On April 24, 2006 Ron Artest is suspended one game in the playoffs for another flagrant elbow thrown toward Spurs’ guard Manu Ginobili. On November 20, 2004, Ron Artest, was suspended for a whopping 86 games including the playoffs for fighting with Detroit Piston’s fans.
Whether his name is Ron Artest or Metta World Peace it does not really seem to matter. Actions speak louder than name changes and his actions are saying that the 118, now 119 games that he has missed throughout his entire career due to being suspended for conduct unbecoming of a professional athlete will undoubtedly grow.