Monday, November 22, 2004

My Two Cents 

Since everyone else in the world has an opinion on the "Rumble in Auburn Hills" Friday night -- even my wife was looking at the Sports section this morning, for goodness' sake -- I'll throw in mine.

The penalties -- eh, they seemed about right. Artest's seemed a bit long, but he seems to be operating with at least "one strike," if not two (or more). Jackson's seemed a little short, since there wasn't even the pretense of being struck with a bottle for him charging into the stands. And O'Neal's... well, he hit a fan who came onto the court. 25 games seemed to me a little long for that.

No, the only thing that really motivates me, blogging-wise, is that I wish Stern had been even stronger in his condemnation of the fans at the game. If I was Commissioner, fans throwing something onto the court -- anything -- would be ejected. Immediately. Fans who go onto the court would have their ticket-buying privileges suspended for at least 30 games.

I know, I know, the realities of enforcing this rule would make it unenforceable in practice. (How would you identify the thrower of a snowball at a football game? How do you address celebrating court-rushes? What about Jack Nicholson?) And I have absolutely no idea how to walk the fine First Amendment line between supporting fans' free speech rights and the desire to let athletes retain some sort of dignity from vile insults.

But I gotta tell you, my last fear in going to sporting events is that athletes will come into the stands and beat the living crap out of me. My first fear (and it's not a large one) is that the drunken and/or obnoxious fan next to me will beat the living crap out of me.

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