And when I say a joke, I mean it is way too lenient.
World Peace (formerly equally bad boy Ron Artest) is no stranger to suspensions, fines, and bad behavior in general. So when he received a 7 game suspension yesterday for elbowing Oklahoma City Thunder player James Harden in the head, leaving Harden with concussion-like symptoms, everyone (including Metta, who was contrite afterwards) knew a suspension was already being loaded up at the Commissioner’s office. The only question was the length, and when it was announced, many people reacted as if he were being sentenced to life in prison. I don’t think the Commissioner’s office went far enough. Why?
1. Past History. Sorry, but don’t let World Peace’s affable nature off the court fool you into feeling sorry for this guy. The fact is that he has been suspended 14 (count ’em, 14) times since 2001. That’s more than a suspension a season. He’s racked 95 games in suspensions prior to the current one. This one gets him over the century mark.
2. Nature of Suspensions. The suspensions are not for drug use or non-violent matters. One of the suspensions was for a domestic battery case. One was for the infamous melee at Palace Hills in Detroit where he went into the stands and had it out with Pistons’ fans. All the others have been for fighting or unnecessary multiple flagrant fouls. This is not a nice guy on the court. I could care less what he does off the court (unless, of course, he is beating up his domestic partner). It’s his behavior on the court that has resulted in the suspensions. As a repeat offender, he deserves to have the book thrown at him. Hs suspensions are not a detriment to himself, but to his team that depends on him for his play on the court. Providing a lengthy suspension sends a message to the team that they better bring him under control.
3. Deterrent for Future Conduct. He obviously isn’t getting the message with the length of the suspensions he is getting, so hit him with a suspension that means something, and lay a heavy fine on the guy. 20 games and a $250,000 fine. Add another 10 games and $100,000 on top of that for the next suspension (assuming the circumstances warrant it). At some point he should get the message. If he doesn’t, then boot him from the league permanently. Playing in the NBA is not a right, it’s a privilege, and he should be thankful he still has that privilege given to him following this latest episode. Let’s see if he takes advantage of that opportunity given him, and plays the remainder of the season incident free, or whether his recidivist violent pattern continues. My money is on the latter.