November 24, 2004

Skip Bayless:: "Just this once, try watching the RIOT video with your brain instead of just your wide eyes." *I will now officially move on.

posted by jacknose to basketball at 07:10 PM - 10 comments

That column started out good, and ended up just plain absurd. Bayless should have stuck with the theme of his title ("Sports' darkest day? No way"), he was doing just fine with that. But then, in an effort to defend the actions of the players, he came up with the following: What if a fan had pulled a knife or gun? Don't tell me some Artest-hater at the Palace wasn't armed. Well...gee, no, I won't tell you that, because I didn't pat 'em all down. But isn't it a bit over the top to suggest that some Pistons fan came to the game packing in the hope that he'd get a chance at Artest? Or for any reason at all? The second-to-last paragraph contained this jaw-dropper: After a father and son attacked Kansas City first-base coach Tom Gamboa at what was then Comiskey Park in Chicago, many baseball players said that any fan who enters the field during a game will take his life in his hands. In these post-9/11 times, the same should hold for NBA games. Wait. Those two yahoos were with Al Qaeda? Chalk that up to "things you never knew". Oh, no, I guess the connection is supposed to be that sports stadiums are supposedly big ol' terrorist targets, right? Okay, maybe that's true, I'm not a terrorist so I don't know. But if terrorists are going to attack a stadium, do you think that they're going to do it as a one-on-one attack where Al Qaeda operatives disguised as fat stupid drunks with sunburned necks come charging out of the stands, waving fists at the most important figures in America, our sports heroes? Or maybe, since 9/11 happened, fans are supposed to be more likely to come out of the stands with fists raised at NBA games, whereas before they only did it at baseball games? Like I said: started out good, ended incoherent.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:04 PM on November 24, 2004

Skip Bayless is such a waste of newsprint they kicked his sorry ass from paper to paper until he couldn't find one that would have him any more. I cannot tell you how happy I was a few months ago to read his last column here in the Mercury News.

posted by billsaysthis at 08:46 PM on November 24, 2004

started out good, ended incoherent isn't that appended to Bayless' byline?

posted by lilnemo at 08:49 PM on November 24, 2004

Bayless makes some good points about the events of the fight. Contrary to my initial characterization, Artest didn't throw a punch at the first fan, though I think he was trying to get a shot in after pushing him down and was restrained by fans. It did seem like he belatedly realized that punching any of those fans would be a bad idea, and he skeedaddled back to the court. I looked today to see if anyone in the media was coming to the defense of Jermaine O'Neal. As far as I can tell, the only action he took was against a fan on the court after several minutes of out-of-control brawling in the arena. The fan had no business being there, and O'Neal and the other athletes were being targeted for a lot of random fan abuse. That ought to be considered a mitigating circumstance by the league.

posted by rcade at 08:50 PM on November 24, 2004

Hated Bayliss in Dallas too, both as a writer and a radio talk show host. Terrible opinions wrapped by some of the most cloying wordplay ever commited to fishwrap.

posted by rcade at 08:51 PM on November 24, 2004

Sure, he has some points, but it comes off as someone taking the road least travelled for the attention.

posted by justgary at 09:31 PM on November 24, 2004

I agree in principle that this was far overblown (up here in the Great White North we've seen hockey players go in the stands on a few occassions), but interesting to note that while a fan who comes on the field is tresspassing, it is not a free ticket to getting the shit kicked out of you in any kind of legal sense. Hell, a burglar can sue you for not cleaning out your garage if he falls. Jermaine O'Neal was not engaged in any kind of self defense. His suspension is warranted.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:08 AM on November 25, 2004

A suspension is warranted, but 30 games for fighting a fan who was exhibiting hostile behavior by coming out onto the court? While other fans were fighting players and dozens were pelting them with debris?

posted by rcade at 08:23 AM on November 25, 2004

Well, in truth, at the time of O'Neal's punch the players had returned to the court and were not fighting anyone. One could easily infer that O'Neal was taking advantage of a fan entering the playing area and exacting some justice (not necessarily a fair assesment, by all accounts O'Neal is a nice guy, but nonetheless 'defending his teammate' with a punch instead of a bear hug is not in keeping with reasonable force). Exhibiting hostile behaviour is a grey area as well. Also the nature of the attack should be considered. A blind-side haymaker? - that could have been much, much worse. Also, I'm not sure if 25 games or 20 games makes any difference in the public perception, only in O'Neal's wallet. And it probably will survive the momentary starvation.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:00 AM on November 25, 2004

I agree with lbb, this article should have ended after the first few paragraphs. By the way, in the videos that I've seen, the fat fan that gets clocked by Artest, does no "Ali shuffle" before Artest puts him on the canvas with 2 punches. It does look like he was yelling at him and I agree that when a fan goes onto the court it's as STUPID AS A PLAYER THAT GOES INTO THE STANDS, but I don't think that this guy did enough to deserve getting his ass kicked by Artest. I also don't think that Artest has a divine mandate to kick his ass just because he was on the court, although if fatboy had actually thrown a punch, I'd be singing a different tune. But he didn't. I'm also pretty damn sure that the guy that receives the O'Neal "haymaker" (Bayless' caracterization, not mine, taupe is going to have a hissy fit), one of the most cowardly actions of the night, was the same fat guy who had just gotten up off the canvas. Or his equally fat twin brother. Anyway, I agree this is not the end of sports, in fact this will bring a big boost to the NBA's TV ratings.

posted by sic at 10:39 AM on November 25, 2004

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