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League takes safe middle ground with 7 game World Peace suspension

Apr 24, 2012, 9:29 PM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

In the end, David Stern and the NBA played it down the middle. They played it safe.

Seven games for Metta World Peace’s dangerous elbow to the head of another player, one that left James Harden with a concussion. Don’t say mild concussion — there are no mild brain bruises.

Seven games is safe, defensible.

Seven games is not the “out for the rest of the season” that some wanted to see. However, that would have been unprecedented and out of line with past punishments — Andrew Bynum got five games last season for a dangerous forearm shiver on an airborn J.J. Barea as the Lakers were being eliminated for the playoffs. Elbows normally draw one or two games. If you think Artest should be gone for the season you think the league needs to be tougher and harsher in general on these fouls. But to do it in this case would have set a new precedent and the league wouldn’t go there.

However, this was a dangerous play that deserved more than just a game or two. This was not a basketball play — there was no play on the ball, it was as part of a celebration not some kind of game action. Then he squared up willing to fight Serge Ibaka. And there is a history with the former Ron Artest.

Seven was a safe number.

I think it might have been 10 games if these had been regular season games, but because six of those games will fall during the playoffs for the Lakers — where the games mean more — the league took that into consideration. The way he has played of late — 15.9 points per game on nearly 50 percent shooting the last 10 games, and he had 12 before his ejection Sunday — his absence will be felt by the Lakers.

I hope for two things out of this.

First and foremost, for Harden to recover fully and be ready to go in the playoffs.

Second, is for World Peace to be able to move forward from this. People who like to paint the world in simple black-or-white terms miss the growth we have seen from World Peace in recent years. He not only went to see a psychologist, he publicly embraced what it did for him and set up a campaign to help remove that stigma for youth who can use help. He has been a teammate that other Lakers speak well of. He has matured.

He sometimes still acts like a 13-year-old boy — lacking the control, the filters, the thoughts about consequences we expect of adults — but he doesn’t act that way all the time. The days of drinking at halftime are gone. He is growing up. I hope that this incident doesn’t reset people’s images of him completely.

  1. chichi78 - Apr 24, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    Using Helin’s logic, a raging alcoholic who does AA deserves a get out of jail card for a DUI that kills someone. As long as Artest is on the court, you will just never now when he will do something to hurt someone.

    Back to Helin, what is up with him almost always ending his posts with some lecture-y comment?

    • conjecture101 - Apr 25, 2012 at 10:44 AM

      piss off

    • mlblogscubfanbudman621 - Apr 25, 2012 at 10:56 AM

      WoW! What a F K NG JOKE! 7 games? Monkey Thug Nugs like artest need to be Trayvon’d!
      NBA: Nothing But APES!

    • 1historian - Apr 26, 2012 at 10:07 PM

      Good question. And he doesn’t seem to be the only one.

  2. lphboston - Apr 24, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    Next thing you’ll say is that he found God.

    Leopards don’t change their spots. This is a bad dude with a long rap sheet. Time to put the hammer down hard. Seven games is waaaay too lenient.

    • bozosforall - Apr 24, 2012 at 11:05 PM

      Meanwhile, you Boston idiots embrace Nutshot Kevin Garnett. Hypocrisy rubs rampant in New England as usual.

      • phaden27 - Apr 25, 2012 at 6:08 AM

        Well…… KG never ran into the stands to attack the wrong fan. I get your point though.

      • bozosforall - Apr 25, 2012 at 10:28 AM

        No, KG didn’t. He just went sausage-grabbing on another player.

      • phaden27 - Apr 25, 2012 at 6:04 PM

        Fair enough.

      • bozosforall - Apr 25, 2012 at 7:03 PM

        Not to the player whose sausage he grabbed.

      • Maxa - Apr 25, 2012 at 8:28 AM

        You’re comparing trash talk and posturing to actual violence?

      • bozosforall - Apr 25, 2012 at 10:29 AM

        Trash talk? He hit another player in the nuts on purpose. That’s violence, idiot boy.

      • 1historian - Apr 26, 2012 at 10:08 PM

        and so do championships

        who do YOU root for, may I ask?

      • bozosforall - Apr 27, 2012 at 12:52 AM

        Not lately. I root for the team that has a 10-4 lead over the Celtics in titles in the modern era.

    • conjecture101 - Apr 25, 2012 at 10:55 AM

      next thing you’ll say is that your a competent human being. Artest has done charity work all over the world. He’s made more contribution to this country than you could ever even comprehend making. So he plays physical and gets out of hand sometimes. At least he aims to improve his life rather than sitting on blogs judging others all day.

  3. lameasish - Apr 24, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    Seriously Kurt? So I can go and do a bunch of bad stuff, stop for a little while, then do something bad again and you will have my back? He’s an adult, he needs to grow up, you admit he sometimes acts like a teenager and that is somehow ok from time to time? The guy is a joke and so was this post. Just remember, none of you can say anything bad about me because I promise to behave tomorrow, the day after though…I might just elbow somebody

    • conjecture101 - Apr 25, 2012 at 10:47 AM

      if Artest played in the 80’s he wouldn’t stand out like he does now. It’s just fans like you are so soft that you sensationalize everything until the truth is buried under layers of venomous hatred towards another person.

  4. abchome - Apr 24, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    Next time the league will certainly be sued, and hopefully by the victim but not his family.

    • Dan M. - Apr 25, 2012 at 3:05 AM

      “but not his family” ? Is this a subtle tort reform troll? That’s gotta be first on a basketball blog.

    • conjecture101 - Apr 25, 2012 at 10:56 AM

      next time you make a comment like this, you will be sued for defamation of character and pure idiocy.

  5. Fred - Apr 24, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    Agree totally with abc. This is a liability issue for the NBA. Artest is a menace and he should be banned. This his 4th suspension since returning from an unprecedented penalty for fighting. A year ago, he almost took Berea’s head off with a clothesline. At what point can we expect Artest to have learned how to conduct himself? After he kills someone on the court?

    • tejano2k - Apr 25, 2012 at 1:15 AM

      It wasn’t MWP that clotheslined Barea, it was Andrew Bynum. Just because he (MWP) is a Laker, he shouldn’t get any more of a penalty than anyone else would. By the way, Bynum got 5 games for his hit. I agree that the NBA needed to do something but, also agree that to set a new precedent would be wrong. MWP has been almost a “choir boy” for quite a while. Too bad it couldn’t last. Lakers will need to pick-up their play, big-time, if they are to advance.

    • conjecture101 - Apr 25, 2012 at 10:58 AM

      you’re a liability issue for this site. By your logic Bill Lambier and Kurt Rambis should be eating out of garbage cans on 5th avenue.

  6. emaimo80 - Apr 24, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    Artest is a thug!

  7. thebigkahuna23 - Apr 24, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    What are you guys taking about? I’m no Laker fan. In fact I caught the brawl live, and can trace the death of my sports innocence to that moment. This is a guy who used to be making news all the time for scuffles, breaking cameras, etc… to a point where it was Ron being Ron. He actually does a ton for mental illness awareness and embraces the fans like nobody else in the NBA.

    Come on guys, the brawl was in 2004. I think he should have gotten ten games, I’m not here to argue about the intentionality of the elbow. But you guys saying that he hasn’t changed at all and needs to get das boot are totally wrong.

  8. rexismybff - Apr 24, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    Some folks might not think it’s PC to say it, but talking to a shrink does not make someone “more mature”. It’s his actions that you’ve got to look at.

    I say FAIL.

    • thestudiokida - Apr 25, 2012 at 12:03 AM

      Therapists actually do more harm than good regarding sociopaths. I’d venture to guess Artest has some serious demons bouncing around his brain and it’s possible therapy is just a justification for his behavior… chemical imbalances and all that.

  9. nightrain42 - Apr 24, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    This article is crap. Just $hit on MWP. He was ready to challenge Ibaka? Ibaka was comin towards him, wldnt a normal defend themselves? If he didn’t get ready to defend himself I wld b more concerned. Hardens teammates all went towards MWP, then checked on their teammate. This is the media just piling on..again.

    • tejano2k - Apr 25, 2012 at 1:21 AM

      Agree! Not condoning what MWP did, but for him to NOT defend himself (i.e. “square-off”) when Ibaka and the rest of the OKC team were coming towards him might have been crazier than the act itself. Ibaka might have gotten more than he thought he wanted.

  10. Fred - Apr 24, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    Artest since 2004:

    Psychiatrists: 1
    Suspensions: 4

    • conjecture101 - Apr 25, 2012 at 3:39 PM

      Fred since 2004:

      NBA Games Played: 0
      Contributions to Society: 0

      • conjecture101 - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:54 PM

        Just kidding about the contributions thing Fred. That was a bit out of line.

  11. BigBeachBall - Apr 24, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    artest’s elbow on Harden is the biggest news in Oklahoma since McVeigh…

    • lyndseymarieee - Apr 24, 2012 at 11:38 PM

      really not funny.

    • sasquash20 - Apr 25, 2012 at 3:13 AM

      Your an douche bag. That was a terrible thing that nut job did. Innocent people and children died from what he did. To even mention that in any comedic sense is just wrong.

    • thebigkahuna23 - Apr 25, 2012 at 8:11 AM


  12. fm31970 - Apr 24, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    “The days of drinking at halftime are gone. He is growing up.”

    Low standards much? Yes, give him some credit for that, but he’s what, 32 years old?

    “hope that this incident doesn’t reset people’s images of him completely.”

    For some it will, and my first reaction was, “I guess he didn’t learn his lesson”. The guy STILL has anger issues and committed a vicious act, showed ZERO remorse for it, and lied about it. Any sane person of moderate intelligence and with any modicum of compassion recognizes what he did was not accidental. He wound up and took a full swing, knowing Harden was right next to him, and knowing that elbow was going to make contact.

    It saddens me that the NBA doesn’t has the guts to throw a player like this out of the league. It’s embarrassing as a fan of the NBA, and seven games missed seems far too small a price to pay. Does David Stern REALLY think this will deter MWP from doing something like this again? Very sad.

  13. schlom - Apr 24, 2012 at 11:39 PM

    I’d like to see conditional suspensions – I don’t see why Artest should play until Harden does.

  14. marlin1894 - Apr 25, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    There seems to be no middle ground with World Peace. He is as polarizing as they come. I wish this wouldn’t have happened, World Peace has been trying to work on himself. People seem to forget he has a disorder, it doesn’t excuse him from his actions but helps explain them.


    That’s your contribution? Disgusting.

  15. techpeasant - Apr 25, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    IMO suspension should have been some minimum number of games (okay, say 7, would have preferred 10) or however many games Harden is unable to play for his team, whichever is greater. Flagrant fouls that cause injury should cost the offender and his team no less than it costs the offended player and his team.

  16. lakerluver - Apr 25, 2012 at 12:29 AM

    No problem with the punishment. No excuse for what MWP did.

  17. ezmagic - Apr 25, 2012 at 12:30 AM

    7 games is a joke for this guy. He should of got 10 minimum. Maybe next season when this guy snaps again they ban him from the league. This guy started a riot in the palace, elbows harden for no reason, and about a half dozen suspensions..he’s a disgrace to the league. Mental problem or not, he’s supposed to be a professional. Get him on medication please. Or increase the dose.

  18. ncarolinarn7 - Apr 25, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    We ALL need 2nd and 3rd chances. If you don’t think so let me ask you kids or your wife.

    • 00maltliquor - Apr 25, 2012 at 2:42 AM

      +1,000 thumbs up if I could!

      Funny how everyone can play a saint and not look back in the mirror. Judgement day with the big guy in the sky will inevitably come for everyone, and when the review on everyones life flashes, everyone will feel shame for things we all have done.

    • progress2011 - Apr 25, 2012 at 6:27 AM

      ncarolinarn7….I’d never allow a person with such clouded judgement to even speak to my wife or children, let alone ask them a question.

      But if a rational person were to ask them, if I ever elbowed them in the head, rendering them with a concussion……….I guarantee you, they would say no.

      • conjecture101 - Apr 25, 2012 at 10:51 AM

        shutup you bitter narcissist.

  19. reinavijuice - Apr 25, 2012 at 1:56 AM

    James Harden: when you unnecessarily invade space to trespass a man’s display of glory then you will be met by resistance especially when you purposefully do it off guard during the peak of an emotional outburst.. it’s downright disrespectful and his spontaneous reaction was nothing more than a defensive mechanism.. especially when you nut up on him looking like kimbo slice.

  20. sasquash20 - Apr 25, 2012 at 3:18 AM

    When Ron Artest ran after the fans he should have been banned for life. But David Stern and the NBA have no back bone. This loser continues to make poor decisions. This guy has gotten more then 2 or 3 chances so that talk is insane. I’m far from perfect and I will make mistakes again, but come on this guy is violent. At what point is it enough?

    • conjecture101 - Apr 25, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      you’re an idiot. IF Artest did what Kevin Love did they would want him thrown out of the league but Love got 2 Games. This is only the second real dangerous play Artest has made in his career and thats probably 30 less than Lambier, Rodman and Malone.

      • 00maltliquor - Apr 25, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        Real talk! Swap what Love did with Artest and all these pansies would want Artest burned on a cross.

  21. metalhead65 - Apr 25, 2012 at 7:46 AM

    how many chances are they going to give this guy? he has proven he doesn’t get it or he would not keep doing stupid things like this. who cares how long it is between them? doesn’t make what he did any less idiotic or change what he did. so now all he has to do is go another year or 2 and then when he goes nuts again it will be ok? I think the only message he sends about mental health is that it is ok to be crazy and do whatever you feel like as long as you say you are sorry afterwords and promise to work on changing for the better. and stop comparing him to 13 year olds most of them have more sense than this lunatic.

  22. omniusprime - Apr 25, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    Another sorry NBA decision, the 7 game suspension is far too stiff for a minor offense. If Harden hadn’t stood in front of World Peace blocking his way back down court then Peace wouldn’t have had to give Harden’s glass head a good forearm shiver. Harden deserved what he got and if he’s such a wimp he’s got a glass head then that’s too bad for him, maybe next time he’ll be smart enough to get out of a player’s way.

    Stern seems to be doing everything he can to screw the Lakers this season, what’s needed is a 7 year suspension of David Stern from the NBA!

  23. dcarlock - Apr 25, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    Is there anyone out there that believes he deserves a hefty fine also? I mean; it’s not the first time he did something like this!!!

    • franchiseplaya - Apr 25, 2012 at 1:00 PM

      he doesn’t get paid for the games he’s suspended, so technically the equivalent of a fine, hence why more games should have been handed down. hit him in the pocketbook, unless you think he should ONLY miss 7 games AND get a hefty fine thereby not punishing the lakers as badly by missing one of their top players for a longer period.

  24. patsfan15 - Apr 25, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    He’s had one maybe two issue after the Indiana issue. He’s been on his best behavior since signing with LA emotions happen he’s not the only guy to throw an elbow. To be banned for good? So if you’re convicted of a crime thats it? You to jail and never get out? He didn’t murder anyone he threw an elbow ! If harden wants to play a non physical game he should sign with a wnba team. It’s a mans game. Ron is a man

  25. wilbur8848 - Apr 25, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    he is an animal… should be banned for life

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