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Scapegoating Ron Artest is foolish

By Scott Tibbs, June 29, 2010

Gary Varvel takes note of Ron Artest's contributions to winning a championship with Los Angeles by pointing out the damage he did to the Indiana Pacers. Varvel needs to open his eyes about the flaws of the Pacers organization.

This isn't to minimize Artest's behavior. He lost control of his temper and charged into the stands after a "fan" in Detroit. Now, the "fan" is a notorious thug with a long criminal record, but Artest is a professional athlete and should know better. When you are making as much money as pro basketball players do, there is an expectation to hold yourself to a higher standard of behavior than the general public.

The NBA's laughable overreaction to Artest's behavior exposed that the NBA commissioner David Stern is thoroughly corrupt, but Stern would never have had the chance to sabotage the Pacers had Artest controlled himself. Artest's selfish and ungrateful trade demand the next season also put the Pacers in an untenable position.

However, the Pacers have a lot of problems that cannot be blamed on Artest. First, Artest was not the only one to lose his cool and become violent on that fateful night in Detroit. Second, there have been other incidents over the years.

In October of 2006, Stephen Jackson, Jamaal Tinsley and Marquis Daniels were part of an altercation at an Indianapolis bar where Jackson fired a handgun into the air. Criminal charges came later.

In February of 2007, Tinsley and Daniels had another altercation at the 8 Seconds Saloon, where they assaulted the bar manager.

In September of 2007 Shawne Williams was arrested for operating a vehicle without a drivers license and two traffic citations. The police cited other passengers for marijuana possession and handgun charges.

In December of 2007, someone fired at Tinsley and his entourage with an assault rife, leading to Tinsley's brother acting "gansta" by chasing the culprit. He "fired at the attackers with a 9 millimeter handgun."

In January of 2008, the NBA suspended David Harrison because he failed a marijuana test.

A decade ago, the Portland Trailblazers began to suffer from player misconduct and were mocked as the "Portland Jailblazers" by fans and the media. The Indiana Pacers took up the slack with the thugs and hoodlums on their team. How far the Pacers have fallen from the days of Reggie Miller shocking the Knicks in the playoffs! Mller has to be disgusted by the fall of the franchise that he built.

The Indiana Pacers organization has only itself to blame for its problems. Whatever damage Artest did is insignificant in comparison to all of the other scorn the Pacers have earned.