Team effort required to clean up this mess

EL SEGUNDO – We’ll give Ron Artest credit for this much:

When he throws an elbow, it really lands.

The Lakers’ Metta World Peace leaves the court Sunday after being ejected for hitting Oklahoma City’s James Harden with an elbow to the head.STEPHEN DUNN, GETTY IMAGES ADVERTISEMENT

Officially, Artest concussed only Oklahoma City’s James Harden on Sunday. but, a full two days later, Artest’s coach was suffering a cloudy head, too.

Mike Brown began his post-practice media session Tuesday by saying he hadn’t talked to Artest about the assault on Harden, telling reporters, “You gotta ask him what he was thinking because he’s the one that did it.”

During a followup response, Brown flatly repeated, “I have not talked to him about it.”

Incredible, no, that a head coach wouldn’t ask one of his players about an incident that, since the moment it occurred on network TV inside a sold-out Staples Center, has been one of the biggest stories in sports and a source of national debate? everyone — everyone — is talking about what Artest did.

Everyone, at least Brown wanted the public to think, but the Lakers.

Then, asked one more time about meeting with Artest, Brown finally admitted the two had talked, the coach apparently concluding that, when it becomes absolutely necessary, tell the truth.

Cloudy, in the course of three questions, turned to partly cloudy.

So, here’s another aftershock from Artest’s earthquake of an elbow. He has left the rest of the Lakers scrambling to explain actions that are inexplicable. Artest had Brown, as decent a man as can be found in professional coaching, lying.

Kobe Bryant, meanwhile, also claimed be hasn’t spoken to Artest about the situation, but no one thought to ask Kobe the same question two more times, so who really knows?

Pressed on the Artest affair, Bryant finally urged reporters, “Ask him.”

Funny, that was our idea, too, but Artest fled the Lakers’ practice floor while media members were still being corralled nearby like sheep. seems that the bruising Metta World Peace still isn’t strong enough to face questions from a bunch of lambs.

Let’s add selfish to the growing list of delightful things Artest has been the past few days. his continued silence has burdened his teammates and his coach, the Lakers forced to have Artest’s back whether they want to or not.

The league finally made noise on the matter later Tuesday, announcing a suspension of seven games, which is about what most people figured but roughly six more than the loyalist of Lakers fans considered appropriate.

To those folks, we’d like to add this:

There are varying reports concerning Artest’s rap sheet, which can happen when trying to retrace such a rich and lengthy history. some outlets claim this to be his 14th NBA suspension. others say this is only no.10. Still others fall somewhere in between.

Whatever, it can be argued that a sentence of seven games for such a chronic offender is laughable. Had Artest done this in today’s NHL, for example, with his felonious past and having inflicted a concussion, he wouldn’t be playing again until next season. if he was allowed to return at all.

But that’s the NHL, which equips its players with sticks and sharp blades and allows them to fight. So, naturally, the NBA would be more lenient when it comes to acts of violence.

Commissioner David Stern chose to be an enabler, punishing Artest just enough to make sure he won’t hesitate to do something similar again. For at least the 11th time.

Just a hunch here, but we’re thinking Roger Goodell wouldn’t allow the same player the chance to reach 11 NFL suspensions, particularly if that player, in his latest crime against the game, had taken to delivering a shot to the head.

So Artest also should be applauded today for picking the right sport.

Although their starting small forward will miss the opening of the playoffs, the good news for Lakers fans is they don’t have to worry about Artest’s teammates struggling to focus. these are the Lakers, remember, the franchise that remains a sweaty soap opera.

It was funny Tuesday when a TV reporter asked Bryant, of all people, how much of a distraction Artest’s situation has been. “None at all,” said Bryant, who didn’t bother to remind the guy that he once played through a sexual assault investigation.

The other bit of good news is the Lakers should be able to advance through one round of playoffs without getting anything from Artest. They did, after all, play most of this season getting nothing from him.

He’ll be needed, though, in round 2. and Artest will be back, chasing a checkered legacy sure to follow him forever.

Contact the writer:

Team effort required to clean up this mess

Related Websites

    Be Sociable, Share!