Spare the Rod and Spoil the Athlete

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Hats off to NBA Commissioner David Stern for his swift and sure handling of the Pistons-Pacers-Pistons' Fans melee this past weekend. It's not even Thanksgiving and Ron Artest has already been suspended for the entire season. I'm in shock!

Truth be told, he was probably going to be suspended for the bulk of the season 3 and 4 games at a time anyway, so this just made things easier on everyone. Now he can go work on that rap album unencumbered by his NBA schedule ... and salary.

Let me add here, that this isn't all about the players. The trend in fan behavior is equally alarming. Stern is signaling a desire to rein in the players. I wonder if there is any effort being made to address fan problems ... besides providing a nearly unlimited supply of alcohol that is.

MLB and the NHL could take a lesson, here. Their efforts to "address" similar problems have been as laughable as their efforts to anything constructive regarding their organizations.

That said, I'm especially pleased to see the NBA taking the lead, for that is where insane money and immaturity seem to be the most lethal.

So here's hoping that Stern means business. My belief is that how the second incident is handled is the key. The first time is a shot across the bow. The second time will test Stern's resolve. Is he willing to swing the hammer repeatedly and risk short-term damage to his product?


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