November 22, 2004

MBD: Stupidity Watch

Monday Round Up: Stupidity Watch

Pacers-Pistons Brawl

No doubt you’ve heard about this. As I don’t follow sports, I first encountered the story during the SNL news. If you’re not familiar with the story, a huge brawl began at a Pacers-Pistons basketball game after Pacer Ron Artest fouled Ben Wallace during a layup.They got into a scuffle, and then Artest attacked a fan in the crowd after someone nailed him with a cup of soda. It’s all right here in a Sports Illustrated timeline of the brawl.

NBA commissioner David Stern has suspended Artest for the remainder of the season, and other players also received stiff suspensions.

Patrick Ewing expresses the opinion:

“Wow. That’s a lot of games. I guess they did what they thought was in the best interest of the league.”

“It’s a little harsh,” he said. “It’s wrong what they did. But I mean, to suspend him for the whole season? Sixty-some games? That’s rough.”

The guy stormed the fans with his fists swinging. As if basketball isn’t in enough trouble already. Stern makes it clear that this sort of activity is a career decision. But this one cracked me up. In response to the suspensions:

Said guard Derek Anderson: “It’s shocking. Whatever they did, I know not to do.”

Whatever they did??? Har. What’s shocking is the empty-headedness in professional sports.

Most Dangerous Game

Maggie sent this insanity along.

Hunter kills five, injures three after tree stand dispute (You can search Google news for more on this story)

Basically, some hunter went nutzoid and started filling the air with lead over who could sit in a tree stand. After being wounded, the men called in reinforcements, who became new targets for this fellow who was “chasing after them and killing them,” with a SKS 7.62 caliber semiautomatic.

Before he ran out of bullets, he’d killed 5 people including a father, his teenage son, and a woman. As if that weren’t tragically stupid enough, there are the comments.

“I worry about deer being the cause of problems, because sometimes even neighbors can have fights and arguments over a deer,” he said.

Call me crazy, but I don’t think it was the deer out there killing people left and right. If these were deer photographers all we’d have is a bunch of bad photographs of angry people, and maybe someone would have a black eye. A hobby that puts you out in the woods with a gun among people who like to shoot at things carries some risks that are obvious to me.

Hunters are just regular people, just like you and me. Just like the people you encounter at your favorite professional sporting event. Imagine yourself at a Pacers-Pistons game, for example. Would you want to be in the woods with all those people… armed? I leave it to you.

I wear blaze orange when I geocache in the woods to distinguish myself from the game. In the case of these folks, their blaze orange became the perfect target, I imagine. Senseless.

To be fair to hunting, 5 people killed is a very unusual hunting story. And I’m told (and I’m inclined to believe it) that the responsible hunters far outnumber the irresponsible and nutzoid variety. However, judging by the stories of people I know who live near hunting areas and my experience wandering through, (stray bullets, shot up signs, beer bottles) that latter, fully-armed category are a subject for close observation by Stupidity Watch.

Posted by James at November 22, 2004 8:48 AM
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A few NBA players took it upon themselves to act like hockey players during the NHL lockout.

In recent years, at least, hockey players have recieved lighter penalties for worse behavior. I don't know if this is a racial thing or just something wacky about hockey (I know some people think that the fighting is a major draw for hockey fans), but the NBA has always been tough on players who misbehave on the court. In fact, I believe even MLB is more lenient than the NBA.

So, it's a bit strange that Patrick Ewing, who has been an NBA star for many years, is confused by the "harsh" penalty. It's harsher than usual even for the NBA, but AFAICT the NBA is the only league that works hard to discourage bad behavior during games (I don't know about football).

Posted by: Julie at November 22, 2004 11:11 AM

I should also add that NBA players are the biggest babies in all of professional sports. Some of this is because there's an advantage to exaggerating the significance of a foul, but basketball is probably the only sport where if someone touches you, you're expected to clutch at the insulted bodypart and howl in agony. Given that, I suppose complaining becomes a habit.

Posted by: Julie at November 22, 2004 11:14 AM

I followed this story throughout the weekend. Stern always tries to compare his sport to the world's most popular sport (soccer) because that's where he'd like the NBA to end up. European soccer has a history of very harsh penalties for this kind of behavior, not just for players but for the teams involved. It is possible that the next time the Pacers play at the Pistons the doors will be locked and they will be playing in front of 25,000 empty seats.

As far as the boneheaded comments, the link is to the Oregonian, the hometown newspaper of the Portland TrailBlazers. This team is the running joke of the NBA. Drug arrests, DUI, domestic assault, armed assault... The latest I saw was an investigation into a player regarding pit bull fighting. So take that into account when reading Derek Anderson's quote.

Posted by: Pat at November 22, 2004 1:21 PM

Some fans will be barred from attending games, which is only right, as throwing an object, in this case a cup of beer, is assault.

I saw a clip of a skinny 20-something guy beckoning a player to come and get him (reminds me of A-Rod), and the look of abject terror on his face when the player obliged was priceless.

I'm sure he was thinking, "He won't come and get me, he'll get in trouble." Wrong, boyo.

All parties were wrong here, and it's all on tape, so there's no weaseling out of any penalties, fines, etc., for fans _or_ players.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Posted by: Patti M. at November 22, 2004 2:22 PM

I finally saw the whole footage of the incident. All I can say is, "wow." I would hate to have been caught in the moddle of that.

Of course, it's always been moy opinion that any fan who throws something at a player should be barred from a stadium.

Posted by: James at November 22, 2004 3:47 PM

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