By Ann Liguori
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You can’t change your name to Metta World Peace and win the 2011 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award and then throw an elbow with such reckless force that it knocks out your opponent.
I don’t care how “competitive” you are, how “passionate” you are or “what bad timing” it was. Nice try, but blaming it on “two powerhouses colliding” is a lame excuse. And then Peace topped it off by writing on his web site: “This type of competition makes for great entertainment.”
Aside from not being able to control himself, Peace is also in denial.
The truth is, the former ‘Ron Artest’ has never been able to control himself. The NBA has suspended him over a dozen times as Artest, throughout his career, continued to ‘lose it,’ hurting opponents and letting down his teammates. Since November 21, 2004, and his infamous trampling and fight with fans during that early-season game between the Pacers and the Pistons, resulting with his being suspended and missing 86 games, Artest was suspended for one game for a flagrant elbow he threw at Spurs guard Manu Ginobili in 2006; was suspended for seven games for domestic violence during the off-season in 2007; and last year in May, was suspended for one game for hitting Mavericks guard J.J. Barea in the face during Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals.
And going back to 2003, Knicks fans remember when Artest threw a television to the floor and then grabbed a camera from an MSG cameraman and smashed it. How about in January of 2003, when Artest gave the finger to Miami Heat fans, flagrantly fouled Caron Butler and confronted Heat coach Pat Riley?
The severe elbow blow Peace viciously and recklessly hit James Harden with in last Sunday’s Lakers-Oklahoma City game looked powerful enough to severely hurt Harden. Yes, a concussion is serious business, but it could have been even worse. Looking at replays, Peace threw that elbow with such force, it could have killed Harden.
Commissioner David Stern said that when issuing the seven game suspension, he did indeed consider Peace’s past record. Stern said: “It’s really very serious stuff and it does take in account the fact that the perpetrator is who he is and has the record that he has, and this called for, in our view, a very stiff penalty. And we think that seven games, which only includes one regular-season game, is such a stiff penalty.”
But I don’t think a seven game suspension is “stiff” enough. But then again, is any suspension stiff enough when a player continues this kind of unacceptable behavior – injuring others? His track record speaks for itself.
Back in September of 2011, Artest said he officially changed his name to ‘World Peace,’ with the intention of being ‘inspirational.’ The word ‘Metta’ means good will and nonviolence. I think it’s time for another name change!
Your thoughts on World Peace? Sound off in the comments below…