Luke Waltons Forehead presented by the Sports Dude.

Monday, November 22, 2004 at 10:59 AM

Friday Night Fights from the Palace.

I do not even know where to begin, that is the sad part. You can spin this seven ways to Sunday and the bottom line, where you will always come back, is that this is an ugly, unfortunate event. Plain and simple, cross the T's and dot the I's, that is where you will come back. I guess I will start by recapping my evening and how it all started for me. I am married and have three kids, my wife and I had finally gotten them all off to bed, cleaned up the house from the days events of three wonderful boys, and were going to watch a movie. Well, as it always seems to happen, one of us just passes out on the couch from exhaustion, and on this night it was her turn. So, instead of watching a movie solo, I tune into the Pistons and Pacers on Channel 4, not ESPN, because I love George Blaha and Bill Laimbeer, the local announcers, and not the ESPN dweebs like Bill Walton.

Well, the game is pretty much out of reach and it is clear the Pistons are going to be on the losing end. Ben Wallace gets a cheap shot from Ron Artest at the end, with 45 seconds left, that means nothing besides the fact that Artest is trying to send a message for the rest of the season - we are on your backs and it is going to be a fight for the Eastern Conference. Big Ben takes exception to that and goes after Artest, letting him know that he doesn't appreciate cheap shots. Well, that started it and the two appeared ready to go at it. Then, the benches do a good job of keeping everyone separate and Reggie Miller and Stephen Jackson keep talking smack to Big Ben. So he throws a wrist band or something at Artest saying that "I ain't thru with you yet". So Artest continues to wimp out, laying on the scorers table and even grabbing a broadcast headset to "show boat" a little more. The next thing you know, some dumb ass fan throws a cup of beer and hits Artest square in the head and all hell breaks loose. You have all seen it by now, there is no need for anymore recap, it was hell before everyone's eyes breaking loose. Now, the after math.

Big Ben should have gotten a 2 or 3 game suspension, that is certain. He went after Artest, cheap shot and all, and that carries a fine and a suspension for instigating a fight. But 6 games? I guess David Stern saw all that the Pacers were going to lose and had to throw a few extra games at Ben just to make it seem somewhat fair, but that is the only justification I can see for the additional games. Now, the Pacers guys - that is all fair, and I am not saying that as a biased Piston fan, I am saying that because facts are facts - plain and simple. Artest had no right going into the stands, I don't care what a dumb drunk ass does, it is a written rule you do not go into the stands. Once he did that, unfortunately, all bets are off and the rumble was well under way. Am I condoning the fans actions? No, but Artest is a loose cannon anyway and he had no right going into the stands like that. Stephen Jackson went into the stands not to help restore order (like Rasheed Wallace did), but to beat up anyone that got in his way. The same goes for Jermaine O'Neal, who took a cheap shot at that poor fan on the floor. Granted that fan, just like Artest and Jackson had no right going into the stands, had no right being on the floor, but there was no reason for his cheap shot reaction. It was uncalled for and not necessary, plain and simple again. I told my wife that night, who I woke up so she could watch this embarrassing event unfold, what I thought the suspensions should be. And, although you won't believe me because, I hope, you were not at my house, Stern did exactly what I told my wife he should do - Artest all year, Jackson for 25 to 30 and O'Neal for 15 to 20. The only exception is I told her 2 to 3 for Ben, and he got a little extra.

Now, I am getting off on tangents here, and quite frankly, I will have to post again on this later because I am sure I am forgetting stuff, but I need to stop now. What I am leaving out is how pissed I am at John Saunders, who I will get into in my next posts, as well as what I think the league should do to the Pistons organization as well as the cops need to do to the fans they can identify. But that will have to come later, when I calm down a little bit. Until then, keep reading, give us some comments, and have a beer on me - not on Artest, I think he already has had his fill. Until that time comes, I am out like the Pacers playoff chances - the sports dude.

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